Minister says no to dropping ‘Allah’ appeal

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 – Minister for Islamic Affairs Senator Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom is adamant that the government should not rescind the ban on non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” despite public regret by Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in direct charge of the Islamic Affairs Department (Jakim) stressed that the issue must be settled through the proper legal process.

“We are currently waiting for the court to decide on its position because we don’t know want many public perceptions which will make it hard for us to make a proper evaluation and consistent in our explanation. So we are waiting for the court to settle the issue,” he told reporters after attending meet-the-people session at Muadz Bin Jabal Mosque in Setiawanga here.

Yesterday, Hishammuddin said his predecessor should not have banned the word “Allah” from being used by the Catholic Church and added that the decision will continue to haunt his ministry “for a very long time.”

“In this ministry, it is a zero-sum game.  We are [now] in an uncharted landscape which will haunt us for a very long time.

“We should have let the sleeping dogs lie. It was triggered by those that believed that the word ‘Allah’ should not be used in Sabah and Sarawak,” Hishammuddin said during the Fourth Annual Malaysian Student Leaders Summit.

Earlier MCA released a statement urging Hishammuddin  to use his authority to quash the ban and said that Barisan Nasional (BN) must stop the ruling from further polarising the public.

Former home minister Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar had imposed the word ban on the Church’s newspaper, The Herald, two years ago.