Govt appeals “Allah” High Court decision

By S. Harrish

THE Federal government has appealed against last week’s High Court ruling that Christians can use the word “Allah” in their religious education and books.

The appeal was filed this morning in the Kuala Lumpur High Court registry and a copy was given to the Registrar of the Court of Appeal and lawyers for Sarawakian Jill Ireland.

Solicitor-General Abdul Razak Musa confirmed with FMT about the filing.

On Wednesday, High Court Judge Nor Bee Ariffin ruled that a Dec 5, 1986, home ministry directive to prohibit the use of the words “Allah”, “Baitullah”, “Solat” and “Kaabah” by non-Muslims was illegal and unconstitutional.

The appeal comes despite many calls, especially from Sabah and Sarawak leaders, that the government should respect the court’s decision and do not file an appeal.

Ireland, a Melanau Christian Sarawakian, filed for judicial review in 2008 but her constitutional challenge was only heard in 2017.

This judgment has been adjourned 12 times for parties to seek an out-of-court solution to the use of the term “Allah” in Sabah and Sarawak and in publication materials.

Following the High Court ruling last week, the Muafakat Nasional urged the decision be referred to the Court of Appeal.

MN, which includes Umno and Pas, had said the coalition views seriously the High Court decision in allowing non-Muslims to use Islamic words in their publications.