Do not make false accusations against govt over policy on ‘Allah’ usage, Anwar warns critics

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Arguments over the matter should be made based on facts.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today issued a warning against quarters making false allegations against the federal government over its decision to withdraw the appeal against High Court’s ruling, which allowed non-Muslims to use the word “Allah”.

While the unity federal administration under his leadership is open to views and criticism, Anwar said, arguments over the matter should be made based on facts.

He reiterated that the Home Ministry’s decision to withdraw the appeal against the ruling made by the High Court would not change the existing policies, where only non-Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak are allowed to use the term “Allah”.

“As much as we wanted to bring the case (proceed with the appeal) to the Court, we realised that there was no basis for us to win the case.

“It is ‘tak cerdik’ (not wise for the government to proceed with the appeal) just to prove that we are strict and that we will not compromise with such matter.

Mohd Amin Jalil/NST

“Islam teaches us to formulate and implement policies based on facts,” he told reporters after inspecting the building of SMKA Dato Haji Hassan Sail Pedas in Rembau today.

Defence Minister and Rembau member of parliament Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan; Negri Sembilan Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun and Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek were present.

Anwar insisted matters surrounding the use of the word “Allah” should not be made an issue again.

“The decision (by the Home Ministry) to withdraw the appeal (against the High Court’s ruling) is related to Sarawak, which is based on the policy decided upon in 1986.

“Such a decision does not mean we are giving up, since it does not change the existing policy (on the use of the word ‘Allah’),” he said.

He added that the policy allowing non-Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak to use the word “Allah” was decided by the Conference of Rulers and the federal government at the time in 1986.

“It was not my decision but that of the Conference of Rulers and the then federal government,” he said.

Anwar’s administration came under attack from the opposition following the decision by the Home Ministry’s decision to withdraw the appeal against ruling made by the High Court allowing non-Muslims to use the word “Allah”.

On March 21, 2021, Court of Appeal judge Datuk Nor Bee Ariffin, sitting as a High Court judge, made the ruling after a 13-year legal battle between the government and Jill Ireland, a Christian woman from Sarawak.

Nor Bee described the Home Ministry’s directive to prohibit the use of the four words by non-Muslims 35 years ago as “illegal” and “irrational”. She said the government directive was issued beyond the aim of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (PPPA). – NST