PAS mum on DAP reps’ bid to amend Selangor law on ‘Allah’


(MM) – PAS refused today to specify if it would back three Selangor DAP assemblymen in amending a 1988 state law that prohibits non-Muslims from referring to God as “Allah”.

Instead, PAS information chief Datuk Mahfuz Omar agreed with Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s statement that Yeo Bee Yin (Damansara), Rajiv Rishyakaran (Bukit Gasing) and Lau Weng San (Kampung Tunku) were hasty in issuing their joint statement on the controversial issue.

“I agree with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s statement,” Mahfuz told reporters at the PAS headquarters here today.

PAS central committee member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, who was also at the press conference, said that the matter would first be deliberated in the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leadership.

“Any Pakatan Rakyat decision must be made through consensus,” he said.

The Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) seized more than 300 copies of Malay and Iban-language bibles from the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) last Thursday in a surprise raid, purportedly under the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988.

Two BSM were also arrested in the raid and ordered to report to Jais this Friday.

Following the controversial raid, the three DAP representatives said they will seek to amend the state law at the next state assembly sitting to be in line with the Federal Constitution.

Today, Mahfuz noted that the three assemblymen did not specify how they planned to amend the 1988 enactment.

“I believe that the mentri besar and exco will make a wise decision,” said the Pokok Sena MP.

“I also thank exco Sallehan for taking a wise step in meeting both Jais and the church,” Mahfuz added, referring to Selangor religious affairs executive councillor Sallehan Mukhyi.

The Pakatan Rakyat (PR) Selangor government has declined to comment on the controversial raid pending a report from Jais.

Malaysian Bar president Christopher Leong said last Friday that the Jais raid was unconstitutional.

He also noted that sections 9(1) and (2) of the Selangor 1988 law — which bar “Allah” and 34 other Arabic words and phrases to non-Muslims — were too general as they were not confined to the limits proscribed in Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution that prohibit non-Muslims from propagating their faith to Muslims.