Sometimes, one wonders whether this 'religious issue' is nothing than an attempt to distract Malaysians from the real issues that we must be concerned with... like how Malaysian debt which was about RM100 billion in 1999...today stands at about RM500 billion? Like how come workers in Malaysia is losing their right to regular employment until retirement? Like how come GLC companies are being a bad example when it comes to respecting worker & trade union rights? Lynas? ...
Well, when it comes to this 'Allah' issue, the problem is in State laws - but why is Pakatan Rakyat not making a commitment to amend these laws - that laws that prohibits non-Muslims using certain Arabic words?
There are some States with constitutions that prescribes the religion of the Menteri Besar and some other, and this includes Selangor - so is the Pakatan Rakyat ruled Selangor amend the law to be in line with democracy...with our own Federal Constitution?
Idris: 10-point fix not against state Islamic laws
While noting that the issue is highly sensitive, Idris (left), in his opinion piece published by Kinibiz today, explained that the 10-point fix does not condone non-Muslims propagating non-Islamic faiths to Muslims.
“In other words, the Alkitab is allowed on a conditional basis that is for use by Christians, their churches and congregations and non-Muslims.
“However, if anyone uses the Alkitab or uses any of the prohibited words to propagate non-Islamic faiths to Muslims, then he will contravene the relevant Islamic laws,” said Idris, one of the architects behind the 10-point solution announced in April 2011.
Idris felt the 10-point solution can co-exist with Islamic state enactments, although he is aware there are people who view the co-existence is imperfect.
The 10-point solution allows the importation and printing of the Alkitab in Bahasa Malaysia or indigenous languages, to be used in churches in Sabah and Sarawak.
“In summary, the 10-point solution permits the Alkitab, conditionally in Peninsular Malaysia but unconditionally in Sabah and Sarawak. It does not condone the propagation of non-Muslim faiths to Muslims, whether or not they use any of these prohibited words.”
In explaining further, he said it is not an offence for non-Muslims to sing the Selangor anthem, which contains the word ‘Allah’ in the lyrics because merely singing or uttering them in the anthem does not constitute “propagation”.
In the case of Catholic weekly The Herald, the minister said it is based on the use of powers accorded to the home minister under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, which is to prohibit use of the word ‘Allah’ in the Bahasa Malaysia version of the publication of the newsletter.
“In this case, the home minister has used his discretionary power in accordance with the law, upon being satisfied that the use of the word ‘Allah’ in The Herald’s publication could cause sensitivities, which in turn threatens public order and security.
“The Court of Appeal has ruled that the use of the word ‘Allah’ in the Alkitab is different from its use in The Herald newspaper as seen from the distribution angle of the publications,” Idris said.
Torching of churches
The Bible or Alkitab, Idris said, is allowed on condition that it be used in the church and for the Christian community, while The Herald is a newsletter that can be accessed by all.
Based on those facts, the usage may result in religious sensitivity and ultimately threaten public order and security.
He said the incidents of the torching of some churches in Peninsular Malaysia have been cited as evidence in the court hearing at the appellate court.
Idris said the court in allowing the appeal by the Home Ministry, ruled:
• The minister acted in accordance with his discretionary power in accordance with the law. The minister was also found not to be acting outside established principles for his decision to be set aside by the court.
• The executive is the best body to decide on matters of public order and security. In this case, the court found the High Court had erred when deciding that there is no evidence to show that there has been a threat to public order and security.
The appellate court further concluded that the law allows the minister to make decisions without waiting for threats or violence and is sufficient should there potentially be an occurrence of threat to public order and security. The court also took into account the violence that occurred after the High Court’s decision.
• That the prohibition of the use of the word ‘Allah’ in the Bahasa Malaysia version of The Herald, which is a translation of the English word – “God” in a newspaper, will not prevent the Christian community from practicing their religion and therefore does not violate the right to freedom of religion under Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.
However despite the COA decision, Idris believes differences or conflicts on religious issues are best dealt with via dialogue and discussions rather than through the courts. - Malaysiakini, 24/2/2014, Idris: 10-point fix not against state Islamic laws