PAS respects court’s decision to ban ‘Allah’ in The Herald

Aaron Ngui, The Sun

PAS respects the decision of the Court of Appeal to bar The Herald from using the word “Allah” to refer to God. PAS vice president Datuk Mahfuz Omar said the decision of the court was respected by the Islam-based political party.

“At the same time, PAS also respects the right of the Church to appeal the ruling,” he told theSun when contacted.

However, the Pokok Sena MP declined to comment further when pressed on the issue which has triggered debate on the Federal Constitution and freedom of religion in Malaysia.

The appellate court three-men bench, led by Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Mohamed Apandi Alihad, on Monday allowed the government’s appeal to set aside a 2009 High Court decision to allow the weekly to use the word “Allah”.

The judgment comes after the Roman Catholic Church led by Archbishop Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam filed a judicial review on 2010 to seek among others, a declaration that the Home Ministry’s prohibition to use the word was illegal.

Also on the same page was Penang Islamic Religious Affairs Committee chairman Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim who urged people to abide by the ruling.

“We have no choice but to abide by the ruling but we are closely following any future developments,” he said when contacted.

Meanwhile, the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) expressed its disappointment over the ruling as it appeared that all Christian publications in the national language would be affected.

CFM chairman Reverend Dr Eu Hong Seng said the court had ignored the position of Christians in East Malaysia who used Bahasa Malaysia for worship and service.

He pointed out that churches using the word to refer to God had done so before and after Merdeka, noting that it was not an issue all those years.

He said the authorities who made an issue out of the matter as well as the selective action or inaction have only fueled misunderstandings and mistrusts among the Christians and Muslims in the country.

“As Malaysian Christians we are committed to our beloved nation and our love for Malaysia remains steadfast and we continue to respond with love and not hatred,” he said in a statement.

Penang Gerakan Human Rights and Legal Bureau chief Baljit Singh said such matters should have been handled by “men of the cloth” (clerics and priests) and not “men in robes” (judges).

He said the issue should not have gone to the courts for a decision in the first place as religion was a personal matter.

“God should be kept out of court and politics,” he told theSun when contacted.