Hornbill Unleashed

August 23, 2013

Church fails to strike out appeal on ‘Allah’ word

Filed under: religion — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
Tags: , , ,

Hafiz Yatim

Catholic Archbishop Murphy Pakiam has lost his bid to strike out the Home Ministry and government’s appeal over the Allah matter.

The Court of Appeal’s three-member panel led by Justice Abu Samah Nordin unanimously dismissed the archbishop’s notice of motion to strike out the appeal.

They ruled that the matter was not academic and was still “a live issue”.

“We now dismiss the applicant’s (Archbishop Murphy’s) application,” Justice Abu Samah said.

The other judges on the panel are Justice Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim and Justice Rohana Yusof.

NONEThe archbishop and the church journalHerald Catholic Weekly had submitted a motion to strike out the appeal on grounds of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s 10-point solution delivered to the Christian community in 2011.

The 10-point solution allows the import and publication of copies of the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia/Bahasa Indonesia and the languages of the indigenous peoples.

However, Justice Abu Samah ruled that Najib’s letter on the 10-point solution, dated April 11, 2011, and addressed to Christian Federation Malaysia chairperson Ng Moon Hing, was not part of the matter when the issue was brought before the High Court in Kuala Lumpur.

Hence, he said, there was nothing about this before the Court of Appeal to consider in the archbishop’s application.

NONE“The former home minister (Hishammuddin Hussein) had filed an affidavit and explained the Allah issue was not part of the 10-point solution and that it should not apply to this case. Hence, the matter is not academic and is still a live issue. The controversy has yet to be resolved,” the judge said.

The court further questioned the archbishop for bringing the motion before the appeal proper.

“It is a drastic action to strike out an appeal that has been properly filed before this court and to deny the appellants the right to appeal,” the judge said.

Abu Samah made no order as to costs.

Appeal proper on Sept 10

For now, the appeal of the Home Ministry and the government on the use of the term Allah by the Herald Catholic Weekly will be heard on Sept 10. The Home Ministry and government were represented by federal counsel Suzana Atan.

The archbishop and the Herald were represented by a team of lawyers led by Porres Royan and included S Selvarajah, Benjamin Dawson and Annou Xavier.

Besides the government, six state Islamic councils have also intervened to be among the appellants.

They are the Johor, Malacca, Terengganu, Federal Territory, Kedah and Selangor Islamic councils, while the other appellant is the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association

On Dec 31, 2009, KL High Court judge Lau Bee Lan ruled that the ban on the use of the word Allah by the Herald to beunconstitutional.

Immediately after today’s decision, the Muslims outside the court chanted Allah-u-Akbar. People from both faiths, Muslims and Christians, had gathered outside the court complex in Putrajaya since this morning to hear the case.

Among those spotted in the crowd were former PAS deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa, Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali and the movement’s vice-president Zulkifli Nordin.


Disappointed with ruling

Herald Catholic Weekly editor Father Lawrence Andrew expressed disappointment with today’s decision, saying he strongly felt that Najib’s 10-point solution was further evidence that the word ‘Allah’ should be accepted, since it was in use in the Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia versions of the Bible.

“Definitely we are disappointed, but we accept the decision in the spirit of goodwill. All is not lost as the appeal of the Home Ministry and the government will be heard on Sept 10,” Father Lawrence (right) said.

Selvarajah said despite today’s Court of Appeal decision, his team is prepared to face the government’s appeal as they have the High Court’s judgment for them.

A cabinet order gazetted in 1982, he said, allowed the use of the word Allah in the Bible and Najib’s 10-point solution affirmed this.

“Hence, the home minister’s order not to allow the use of the word Allah in the Herald is irrational, as the KL High Court has ruled,” Selvarajah said.

Besides this, he added, there were other factors, besides the 10-point solution, that they would bring up when the government’s appeal is heard.

1 Comment »

  1. Rahmat bahagia Allah kurniakan

    Raja kita selamat bertakhta!

    Comment by in perpetuity — August 23, 2013 @ 12:03 PM | Reply

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