Archive for October 17th, 2013

After the Allah decision, Putrajaya in futile bid to salvage Malaysia

October 17, 2013

There is irrationality and irony in the Cabinet’s decision that the word Allah can be used in worship and in the Bahasa Malaysia bibles in Sabah and Sarawak – because one cannot compartmentalise religion by regions.

Nor can the Cabinet override the court’s decision.

Or the fact that the Bahasa Malaysia section of the Catholic weekly, the Herald, is actually meant for East Malaysians where most of the Catholics speak and read the national language more than anywhere else in the country.

After all, what are the chances that a non-Catholic would be able to lay his or her hands on one of the 14,000 copies printed weekly in Malaysia for some one million Catholics in the country?

If anything, the Cabinet decision that the Court of Appeal ruling would not affect Christians in Sabah and Sarawak shows that at the end of the day, everything is about politics. Read the rest of this entry »


Bar questions premise for ‘Allah’ judgment

Christopher Leong
Oct 16, 2013

COMMENT The Malaysian Bar is deeply concerned by the decision of the Court of Appeal delivered on Oct 14, 2013 in what is commonly referred to as the ‘Herald’ or ‘Allah’ case.

The concerns arise from the court’s interpretation of Article 3(1) of the federal constitution on the status of Islam and other religions and Article 11(1) and (4) on the fundamental right to profess and practice a religion.

Any interpretation of the constitution must invite the greatest scrutiny as it impacts on the fundamental freedoms guaranteed to all citizens. Read the rest of this entry »


Jakarta Post: ‘Allah’ ruling risks spreading to Indonesia

By Boo Su-Lyn
The Malay Mail Online
October 17, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 17 — Malaysia’s court ruling on Muslims’ exclusivity over “Allah” could inspire Indonesians of the faith to lay the same claim over the Arabic word, Jakarta Post warned in an editorial yesterday.

The English-language daily in Indonesia noted that religious exclusivism was equally strong in Indonesia, “if not stronger” than in neighbouring Malaysia, citing previous debates like whether non-Muslims should be allowed to say the traditional Arabic phrases “Assalamu’alaikum” (peace be upon you), “Alhamdulillah” (praise be to God) and “Insya Allah” (God willing).

“It’s only a matter of time before someone takes the cue from Malaysia and starts raising objections to non-Muslims using the word Allah,” Jakarta Post wrote in an editorial titled “No one has monopoly claim to God: On the use of ‘Allah’ in Malaysia”.

“No one who believes in the power of one supreme God can really claim exclusivity. There is no such thing as the God for Catholics, just as there is no such thing as the God or Allah for Muslims,” added the newspaper.

Jakarta Post stressed that “those who claim exclusivity to God undermine their own faith, and inadvertently or not, preach polytheism”. Read the rest of this entry »


Would Malaysia be formed 50 years ago if Court of Appeal Allah judgment was the law of the land

Barely a month after the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Federation of Malaysia, the recent Allah Judgment has raised many important questions for the founding of and the future of our country.

The first point of the 18 point Sarawak agreement and the 20 point Sabah (then North Borneo) agreement emphasized the freedom of religion that must be enjoyed by Sarawak and Sabah as minimum demands for the formation of the Federation of Malaysia.

It should be noted that in the Cobbold Commission Report of 1962, the views of the Chairman and the British members of the Commission were for the insertion into the state constitutions of Sabah and Sarawak a specific provision to guarantee the freedom of religion.

It should also be noted that the Malayan members of the Commission, Ghazali Shafie and Wong Pow Nee both agreed that while Islam would be the national religion for the Federation, they were ‘satisfied that the proposal in no way jeopardises freedom of religion in the Federation, which in effect would be secular’.

Given the importance of the freedom of religion to the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak, would there have been widespread support for the formation of the Federation of Malaysia if the Court of Appeal Allah judgment was the law of the land?

What would have been the reaction of the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak to the findings of the judgment prohibiting the usage of the word “Allah” in the Herald and that the usage of the name “Allah” is “not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity”?

Or would history have been overturned and Malaysia, as we know it today, comprising of Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak not be in existence?
Read the rest of this entry »