Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin cautioned today against conjecture over the landmark High Court ruling invalidating the government’s 1986 ban on Christian publications using the word “Allah”.
He said his ministry, which was responsible for issuing the directive, will decide its next course of action once the High Court provides its written judgment for the decision.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs has noted the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s decision on March 10 on the issue of ‘Allah’ and other matters brought by Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill against the ministry.
“We will decide on how to move forward from a legal aspect after receiving the judgment in writing from the High Court. I also urge all parties to not speculate on such decisions and respect the legal and judicial process of the country,” he said.
Yesterday, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur ruled that the government directive via a December 5, 1986 circular issued by the Home Ministry’s publications control division was unlawful and unconstitutional.
The High Court had made this ruling in Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill’s case, who had previously challenged the government’s seizure of her eight educational compact discs (CDs) containing the word “Allah” in their titles and which were meant for her personal use. The CDs were seized in 2008 based on the 1986 directive but were previously returned in 2015 to Jill Ireland following court orders.
The word “Allah” is Arabic for “God” and has been adopted into the Malay language. The word has been used for generations by Malay-speaking Christians in the country, especially those living in Sabah and Sarawak. – MMO