Its 12-4 precedent

The Federal Court unanimously and exhaustively decided landmark decision against for the Catholic Church Herald disobedience to the Home Ministry’s instruction for barring to use the word “Allah” in the weekly publication, for being reviewed.

The pro-Anwaristan news portal story:

End of the road for Catholic Church as court dismisses ‘Allah’ review


Published: 21 January 2015 3:18 PM

Father Lawrence Andrew walks near a window during lunch hour at the Federal Court in Putrajaya today. The Catholic Church lost the appeal to review the ban to use the word Allah in its newsweekly Herald. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Nazir Sufarai, January 21, 2015.
Father Lawrence Andrew walks near a window during lunch hour at the Federal Court in Putrajaya today. The Catholic Church lost the appeal to review the ban to use the word Allah in its newsweekly Herald. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Nazir Sufarai, January 21, 2015.
The Catholic Church’s long battle to use the word Allah in newsweekly Herald came to an end today after the dismissal of its review application.

A five-man bench led by Tan Sri Abdull Hamid Embong unanimously held that here had been no procedural unfairness in the Federal Court’s earlier decision not to grant leave.

He added that the threshold for the review had not been met. The court did not give any order on costs.

A seven-member panel of federal court judges on June 23, 2014, dismissed the church’s application for leave to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision to the Herald from using the Arabic word for “God” in its Bahasa content.
Chief justice Tun Arifin Zakaria was among the four on the panel who dismissed the church’s application, in a 4-3 “skin of our teeth” judgment, as the church’s lawyers have called it, that saw three other judges dissenting.

The other judges in the majority decision were Tan Sri Raus Shariff, Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin and Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar.

The dissenting judges were Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, Tan Sri Jeffrey Tan Kok Hwa and Datuk Zainun Ali.

Besides Hamid, other judges sitting today were Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop, Tan Sri Hasan Lah, Datuk Ramly Ali and Datuk Azahar Mohamed.

In 2009, the High Court had declared that the decision by the home minister to ban the Herald from using the word “Allah” was illegal, null and void.

The church, led by the then Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese Archbishop Emeritus Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam, had filed a judicial review application, naming the minister and the government as respondents.

High Court judge Lau Bee Lan had declared it unconstitutional to ban non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” provided it was not used to propagate their religion among Muslims.

On October 14, 2013, the then Court of Appeal judge, Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali, who allowed the government’s appeal against the High Court decision, had said that the reason for the prohibition was to prevent any confusion among the various religions.

He had also said that national security and public order could be threatened if the publisher of the Herald was allowed to use the word “Allah”.

Apandi held that the government had not violated the church’s constitutional rights.

“It is our common finding that the name ‘Allah’ was not an integral part of the Christian faith and practice,” he had said.

He had also said that the minister had sufficient material before him to ban the Herald from using the word.

“Thus, there is no plausible reason for the High Court to interfere with the minister’s decision,” Apandi had said.

The word “Allah” is widely used by the Christians in Sabah and Sarawak and the church has argued that the ban of its use in the Herald is a violation of freedom of religion and expression. – January 21, 2015.


This precedent for the barring to use the word “Allah” in Malay publication meant for the catholic church is a precedent of gargantuan proportions.

The Apex Court exhaustively provided avenue for the Catholic Church Herald to pursuit the matter further.

What is interesting to note, that this was to add to the 4-3 Apex Court judges decision 23 June 2014. Taking into consideration right when it was presented to the Kuala Lumpur High Court as a challenge to the 2009 Home Ministry intention to revoke Herald’s publication license for disallowing the use of “Allah”, deemed meant intentionally for the Malay readership.

In aggregate, twelve judges are for the Home Ministry’s decision to bar the Catholic Church Herald instead of four against. The ‘For’ are the five Apex Court judges who unanimously voted today, four in the Federal Court last June and the uninamous three in the Court of Appeal on 14 October 2013.

High Court Judge Lau Bee Lan allowed for the Catholic Church Herald to defy Home Ministry’s ban against the use of the word “Allah” on the last day of 2009.

Malaysians should put this matter to rest and not raise, provoke and challenge the system which provided in the Federal Constitution as a prohibition for any intention or attempts to profess Christianity to Muslims, in any direct or indirect form.

The provocation include the statement made by HE Vatican Ambassador to Malaysia Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Joseph Marino a year and a half ago, through a story published by a pro-Anwarista news portal. That added to the tension to the much watch case, still being heard by the Malaysian Courts.

Published in: on January 21, 2015 at 15:57  Comments (8)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. AllahuAkbar. Syukur Alhamdulillah.

  2. Very definitely so. Put this matter to rest and not raise, provoke and challenge the decision. This is the highest court of the land. All opportunities to e heard have been provided. All concerned have been heard. All legal avenues have been exhausted. Everybody has to accept the decision and move on.

    This is not like ordinary cases. Religious issues are very sensitive matters. Any challenging and provoking would bring undesirable and unhealthy reactions. The peace and well being of the everybody must be maintained.

    Adherents of all religions, especially those directly concerned in the matter, must remain like in ordinary situations. The highest court in the country has deliberated and made it’s decision. Respect it and let it be.

  3. To the Christians – Live and let live by the land’s constitution.

    If you are sincere in your true hearts, the word “Tuhan” must suffice for your religious needs.

    In multi-religious Malaysia, the backlash is not worth it. Learn from the Charlie Hebdo incident.

    • Atau pun dari 13 Mei 1969.

      Jangan panaskan keadaan. Terima lah keputusan Mahkamah tertinggi di negara ini.

      • I believe this type of people won’t simply gave up , they will other ways and means to proceed with their agenda .

    • Agreed – all citizens must live by the Constitution of the country. In fact, even non-citizens – anyone resident in this country, even short-term ones, tourists included.

      No two-way about it. The draft of the Constitution was tabled in Parliament, discussed and debated by the representatives of practically all ethnic groups, all religious denominations and everybody who had a right to being citizens in this country at Merdeka.

      When passed by Parliament and adopted as law, the Constitution became the highest set of laws in the land. Other laws were enacted in pursuit of the various Articles of the Constitution, for example, laws on the administering of Islam as “the religion of the Federation”.

      Those who the Malays/ Muslims have agreed to them being given citizenship right at Merdeka got their citizenship papers. The Malay/ Muslim-dominated Government under Tengku A Rahman even relaxed the issuance of citizenship certificates by dispensing with the language proficiency tests etc, even to then extent that many in this country cannot speak the language of the country well.

      It’s simply not right when those who call themselves Malaysian citizens do not live by the Constitution and the laws enacted under that.

    • The Constitution Article 3 states that “Islam is the religion of the Federation”. No other religion is mentioned in the Constitution. As has been pointed out by a former very senior Judge, that means that Islam has a special position in this country. That point has to be respected.

      Arguments on why kalimah Allah should not be used by other than Muslims have been given out exhaustively, even in courts. Now that the highest court of the land has made its ruling, it simply must be obeyed by everybody.

      All legal avenues have been exhausted. Being disappointed with the Federal Court ruling is understandable but those still not satisfied with the due process would appear not respecting not only the Courts but also the Constitution. It’s only fair to say that such people should find another land whose Constitution and laws they are willing to respect and live by.

  4. Good that the editor of the Herald admitted that the “door is closed” in its “legal fight” to use the word “Allah”.

    Also good that he said Malaysia would now have to work towards living in harmony and he hoped that the rights of minorities would not be trampled. There have been no instances of such.

    But he also said, “In our understanding, God cares for the poor, the oppressed and the marginalised.” Hope he has not turned politician now.

    And he also said, “In this context of religious faith, we hope that the right of the minorities to profess their faith will always be upheld,” he said. I must have my view recorded that there has never been any case otherwise.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: