KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka can prepare an official Malay translation of the bible to correct Christians’ alleged error in using the word “Allah” for God, the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) asserted in court today.
Mais lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla claimed that the Christian community in Sabah and Sarawak had wrongly used “Allah” for God in Bahasa Malaysia, arguing that they should instead use “Tuhan” and that this would not deprive them of their rights.
“That’s why we submit it should be sent to Dewan Bahasa. That will also be in line with para 2 of 2011,” he said, referring to the government’s 10-point solution issued in 2011 which had said bibles of all languages, including Bahasa Malaysia, can be printed in Malaysia.
“The government is also interested in allowing for Bahasa Malaysia publication of bibles. If Bahasa Malaysia publication of bibles is allowed, Dewan Bahasa would then prepare text to be approved by the Christian community, we would then not have this issue for generations to come,” he said. Read more →
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 ― The federal government’s 2011 solution dubbed the “10-Point Solution” overrides its 1986 outdated ban on the word “Allah” in Christian publications, a lawyer argued in the High Court today.
Lim Heng Seng, the lead counsel for his Bahasa Malaysia-speaking Bumiputera Christian client Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill, claimed the government’s lawyer had effectively acknowledged that the 10-point solution overrode the 1986 ban.
Lim also said a memo was issued by the Home Ministry’s secretary-general to government officials for compliance with the 10-point solution in 2011 or risk disciplinary proceedings.
“So why do you allow the 1986 directive to hang like a sword of Damocles over Christians?” he asked.
“Obsolete, redundant, inapplicable and overridden,” he said when describing the 1986 government directive. Read more →
KUALA LUMPUR: The 1986 Government Directive, which dictates the absolute prohibition on the use of the word “Allah”, is unconstitutional, the High Court was told today.
Counsel Lim Heng Seng, who is appearing for Jill Ireland, a Melanau Christian, in her judicial review application seeking a declaration that she had the right to keep, use and import published materials containing the word “Allah”, said the directive went against Article 11 of the Federal Constitution, guaranteeing freedom of religion.
Lim said as a result of the directive, the rights of the Bahasa Malaysia speaking Christian community to practise their religion have been impacted.
“They are not merely restricted but also denied their fundamental right to practise their religion by having access to their Holy Scriptures and other Christian religious literature.
“What it means is you can call upon God with your mouth, but the word Allah cannot be used in publications and other Christian literature.
“If they can profess God with their mouths, then they must also be allowed to use Allah in their literature. Freedom to practise religion means one must have access to such publications,” he said in his submissions before Justice Nor Bee Ariffin today. Read more →
Lawyer Lim Heng Seng argued that the Home Ministry’s ban of the word “Allah” in Christian publications through a 1986 circular was unconstitutional and unlawful, asserting that it had breached the Federal Constitution’s guarantee of the rights of religious freedom and non-discrimination to all Malaysians.
Church leaders with some of the lawyers for Sarawakian Bumiputera Christian Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill and some of the lawyers who held watching briefs. ― Picture by Ida Lim
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 19 ― Two local Malay-Muslims had separately testified that there was no confusion and no threat to public order arising from the use of the Arabic word “Allah” by the local Bahasa Malaysia-speaking Christian community, the court was told today.
Lawyer Lim Heng Seng, the lead counsel for his BM-speaking Sarawakian Bumiputera Christian client Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill, referred to lawyer Syahredzan Johan’s 2014 sworn testimony that he had not been confused as a Muslim by the use of “Allah” by the Christian and Sikh communities.
“He says that his Islamic faith has not been threatened, affected or confused or influenced by his Christian and Sikh friends’ practice of their religion notwithstanding their use of the word “Allah” by them,” he told the court today, noting that the government has not denied or furnish evidence to counter the affidavit by Syahredzan that was filed three years ago.
Lim was arguing that the Home Ministry’s ban of the word “Allah” in Christian publications through a 1986 circular was unconstitutional and unlawful, asserting that it had breached the Federal Constitution’s guarantee of the rights of religious freedom and non-discrimination to all Malaysians. Read more →
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 — A Sabah church today asked the courts to order the government to disclose documents showing why it had banned non-Muslims from using the Arabic word “Allah”, but the government objected by saying such documents were classified as “official secrets”.
Lim Heng Seng, the lead counsel for the Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) Sabah church, argued that it was necessary for the government to reveal information relating to its original ban in 1986 on the word “Allah” in non-Muslim publications.
Noting that the Home Ministry had cited the 1986 government circular after its 2007 seizure of SIB Sabah’s Christian education, Lim said this initial ban was the “root” behind recurring problems faced by local Bahasa Malaysia-speaking Christians who have been using the word “Allah” for hundreds of years.
He described the situation as akin to the “Sword of Damocles” hanging over Malaysian churches’ head, where the 31-year-old ban was not always enforced but would from time to time be used by “little Napoleons” for seizures that would later be reversed after brought to the attention of senior officials like the prime minister or ministers. Read more →