The Muafakat Nasional (MN) Consultative Committee has urged that the High Court’s ruling on the use of the Islamic words be referred to the Court of Appeal.
MN in a statement said the coalition views seriously the High Court’s decision in allowing non-Muslims to use the Islamic words in their publications.
The media statement was distributed by Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan who is also MN secretary-general through Whatsapp and via Twitter.
The High Court yesterday ruled that Christians nationwide can use the word “Allah” and three other Arabic words in their religious publications for educational purposes.
The three other words are Baitullah, Kaabah and solat.
Court of Appeal judge Nor Bee Ariffin, sitting as high court judge, allowed a judicial review application from Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill, a Christian from Sarawak.
Bersatu also joined Umno and Pas to urge the government to appeal high court decision.
In a statement, Bersatu information chief Wan Saiful Wan Jan said he had spoken to a few cabinet members on the matter and hoped for a practical solution.
“Our legislation needs to take into account the local sentiments and customs,” he said in a statement posted on his Facebook page.
“So, in matters that affect the sensitivity of Muslims like this, there is a need for it to be handled carefully and thoroughly.”
Meanwhile, Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister James Masing chastised Umno and PAS over their call for the government to appeal a court ruling on the use of the word “Allah”.
Commenting on the call by PAS and Umno for the matter to be appealed, Masing said they should not interfere in such matters.
“It is my hope that we should allow men of religion and the courts to decide on religious issues and not politicians,” he said.
He also described the demand by Umno and PAS as ridiculous.
Masing is a member of Sarawak’s GPS coalition. GPS is allied to Umno and PAS under the Perikatan Nasional government.
Yesterday, Noor Bee also said a Dec 5, 1986, home ministry directive to prohibit the use of the words “Allah”, “Baituallah”, “Solat” and “Kaabah” by non-Muslims was illegal and unconstitutional.
The judge said the directive was wrongly issued as it went beyond the aim of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.
She said Jill Ireland had the constitutional right to use and import any publications for the purpose of religious education.
In 2008, Customs’ officers at KLIA seized from Ireland eight CDs entitled “Cara Hidup Dalam Kerajaan Allah”, “Hidup Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah” and “Ibadah Yang Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah”.
Ireland, a Melanau Christian, filed for judicial review in 2008 but her constitutional challenge was heard in 2017.
Earlier report: Mar 10, High Court rules govt’s “Allah” ban for non-Muslims invalid
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