Archive for January 17th, 2010

Four reasons for controversial ‘Allah’ ruling

Malaysian Insider
January 17, 2010
By Debra Chong

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 — High Court judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan’s controversial ‘Allah’ ruling that rocked the nation over who had rights to the term cited that the Home Minister and government’s actions had been illegal, unconstitutional, irrational and had failed to satisfy that it was a threat to national security.

She also wrote about the apparent conflict in the matter between the Federal Constitution and the various state enactments apart from claims by Muslim groups that the matter cannot be taken to a civil court.

The judge released the written grounds of her Dec 31 judgment late on Friday while the increasingly acrimonious public debate over who has the right to use the word “Allah” continues to rage on.

The Malaysian Insider obtained a copy of her 57-page judgment where the judge lays out the reasons and the laws behind her oral pronouncement.

In laying out her judgment, Justice Lau ruled that the Home Minister and the Government of Malaysia, who were named as 1st and 2nd Respondents respectively, has the discretion under Section 12 of the Printing Presses and Publications Act to issue or revoke a permit to the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Reverend Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam (the Applicant) to publish the Church’s newspaper, Herald — The Catholic Weekly.

But, she stressed, the respondents had made decisions that were illegal, unconstitutional and irrational when they barred the Catholic newspaper from publishing the word “Allah” in its Bahasa Malaysia section. Read the rest of this entry »


Najib should report to Parliament on March 15 on the outcome of the K-Economy Master Plan 2001-2010

Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said yesterday that the government would announce the new economic model for the country within a month.

One of the first announcements made by Datuk Seri Najib Razak when he became the sixth Prime Minister was that a new economic model for Malaysia would be introduced to ensure that Malaysia make a quantum leap to escape the middle-income trap to become a high-income country.

Najib said the new economic model would provide more emphasis on innovation and creativity to help workers increase their income. Read the rest of this entry »


Home Ministry should withdraw appeal against KL High Court judgment on “Allah” controversy

The Home Ministry should withdraw its appeal against the Kuala Lumpur High Court judgment on the “Allah” controversy to demonstrate the government’s seriousness and commitment to resolve the issue through inter-religious dialogue.

Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said yesterday that it is time to set up an inter-faith council to reach a mutual understanding on religious matters, with the Star report giving the headline : “’Time for interfaith council’ – Muhyiddin: Mutual understanding needed among all religions.”

Barisan Nasional leaders, from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak downwards have said that the “Allah” controversy must be resolved through inter-religious dialogue and not through the court process.

However, certain Umno Ministers and leaders have given the impression that when they speak about inter-religious dialogue, they are not talking about an open, full and free discussion and interaction but using the inter-religious dialogue to achieve a pre-determined outcome, in the case of the “Allah” controversy, to achieve the same objective as the Home Ministry ban on the Catholic weekly Herald from using the word “Allah”.

If this is the case, then the whole idea of an inter-religious dialogue would be discredited and would not be able to produce a lasting solution to the problem. Read the rest of this entry »


God as politics in Malaysia

Asia Times
By Fabio Scarpello
Jan 16 2010

DENPASAR, Bali – The escalating Allah controversy that has resulted in the bombing of Christian churches across Malaysia has called into question the country’s moderate Muslim credentials and could have major repercussions for political alliances that underpin the United Malays Nasional Organization (UMNO)-led coalition government.

Both main political blocs – UMNO and the Anwar Ibrahim-led Pakatan Rakyat (PR) opposition coalition – have bid to capitalize on the violence, which has devolved from an obscure freedom of expression issue into a volatile matter of internal security that could potentially determine the government’s political survival.

UMNO has so far come out the worse for wear with its credibility shaken and reputation bruised by perceptions it has tacitly condoned the violence targeting Christians. Political analysts believe those perceptions, fanned by online media and blogs, could alienate UMNO’s moderate Muslim base and perhaps more importantly constituencies in the swing states of Sabah and Sarawak, whose parliamentarians help to maintain UMNO’s parliamentary majority.

Some analysts predict that the violence could coax certain constituencies, particularly Christians in Sabah and Sarawak, away from UMNO and towards the PR opposition, potentially paving the way for the parliamentary defections Anwar has long sought to topple the government. Others believe UMNO’s poor handling of the violence could sway more voters against the party at the next election, which already promised to be hotly contested.

UMNO’s politicization of ethnicity and religion has a long history. Many feel those tactics have paved the way for the recent senseless attacks against at least nine churches in the wake last month’s High Court ruling in favor of Catholic weekly newspaper, the Herald, that allowed the publication to use the word “Allah” in reference to the Christian God.

Lim Teck Ghee, director for the Kuala Lumpur-based Center for Policy Initiatives, said that hot-headed Muslims would not have felt emboldened enough to throw firebombs at churches had former prime minister Mahathir Mohammad not “shifted the political goal posts in 2001 by pronouncing Malaysia as an Islamic state”. Read the rest of this entry »