Selangor Journal
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim says the federal government wants to expand the role of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) in efforts to enhance the country’s dignity and status. — Picture by BERNAMA

“Allah” Issue: Cabinet to submit proposal to Conference of Rulers

KUALA LUMPUR, May 17 — The Cabinet has obtained the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah to submit its proposal to improve the enforcement of policies relating to the use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims to the Conference of Rulers.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in a statement today said the proposal will also include recommendations to strengthen inter-racial unity and inter-faith harmony in Malaysia.

He said this is to solve the issue in a comprehensive and integrated manner.

The issue was discussed at the Cabinet meeting today following the Attorney-General’s decision to withdraw the appeal against the High Court’s ruling on the case involving a Christian woman from Sarawak, Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill and her publication material containing the word of ‘Allah’.

Anwar said the Cabinet took note that the decision to withdraw the appeal was made due to administrative issues and did not change the ruling made by the court in 2014.

“The government respects, acknowledges and accepts the states’ enactments and the decree by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah on Feb 7, which stated that the existing policies in regard to the use of the word ‘Allah’ be maintained,” he said.

“The government will always uphold the Federal Constitution, especially Article 3 relating to Islam being the religion of the Federation and that other religions may be practised in peace and harmony,” he said in a statement today.

On May 15, the Home Ministry and the Government of Malaysia were reported to have withdrawn their appeal against the decision of the Kuala Lumpur High Court which ruled that Christians can use the word ‘Allah’ and the three other Arabic words in the publication of their religious material for learning purposes.

The notice of withdrawal was filed by the Attorney-General’s Chambers at the Court of Appeal Registrar’s Office on April 18.

Jill Ireland applied for judicial review on Aug 20, 2008, for the return of eight compact discs (CDs) with titles containing the word ‘Allah’ which were confiscated from her on May 11 of the same year. She also applied for a declaration of her constitutional rights to use the word ‘Allah’ in her Christian publications.

In 2014, the court ordered the CDs to be returned to the woman, and after going through several proceedings, ruled that the directive by the ministry in 1986 not to allow the use of the four words is filled with illegality and irrationality.

— Bernama

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