The government and its Home Ministry are denying that their appeal against the use of the word ‘Allah' by religions other than Islam is an academic exercise, since the substantive issues in the dispute are yet to be heard.

endon funeral 201005 murphy pakiamSenior federal counsel Suzana Atan, who submitted for the government and the ministry in Catholic Archbishop Murphy Pakiam's (right) motion to strike out the appeal today, said the 10-point solution Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak offered the Christian community in 2011 does not cover the use of the term Allah.

"This has been affirmed by former home minister Hishammuddin Hussein in objecting to the application, who stated that the 10-point solution does not cover the Allah issue.

"Hence, the appeal by ministry and the government is still a live issue and the 10-point solution does not make it academic. The 10-point solution is limited to the importation and publication of the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia," Suzana argued.

She said 10-point solution does not cover all publications, including the Herald Weekly, which is the respondent in the matter, as it is governed under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.

Therefore, the Home Ministry could impose conditions to restrict the publications, as the Act covered newspapers and the printing of such articles.

Six state Islamic councils and the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association are also objecting to the archbishop's strike-out application, saying the appeal proper, scheduled for Sept 10, should be allowed to be heard.

The Islamic councils are from the states of Terengganu, Federal Territory, Johor, Malacca, Kedah and Selangor. 

The archbishop's motion is being heard by a three-member panel of the Court of Appeal, headed by Justice Abu Samah Nordin. The others are Justices Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim and Rohana Yusof.

Word ‘Allah' in Bible includes Herald Weekly

Earlier, lawyer Porres Royan, who appeared for Archbishop Murphy, submitted that the 10-point solution Najib offered in April 2011 allows the import and publication of the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia, with the word Allah used in publications including Herald Weekly.

"This, Najib stressed, was a cabinet decision and this presupposes what the respondent (the home minister) said in the affidavit," Royan argued.

He submitted that as the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia and those in other indigenous languages have the word Allah in it, other publications, including Herald Weekly, should be allowed to use the word Allah.

kalimah allah appeal case3Royan also pointed out the Herald Weekly's application for the judicial review centred on the word Allah being used in its publication as the ministry had, on Jan 7, 2009, objected to its usage.

The affidavit affirmed by Archbishop Murphy for the motion to strike out the appeal of the ministry and government states that Najib's solution on the use of the word Allah must hold as it was made to resolve the issue once and for all.

The Court of Appeal will deliver its decision later today.

A huge crowd comprising Muslims and Christians is outside the federal court complex in Putrajaya, the Palace of Justice, waiting to learn the outcome of the hearing.

~ Malaysiakini