The Home Ministry (KDN) today explained that the withdrawal of its appeal against the High Court’s ruling on the case involving a woman from Sarawak, Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill, was because it involves an administrative issue in the seizure of publication material and not the use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslim in Malaysia.

Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said during the appeal application process, the ministry also studied the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s ruling on March 10, 2021, which found a contradiction between the Cabinet decision on May 19, 1986, and the Administrative Directive which was issued by the KDN on Dec 5, the same year.

Under the Cabinet Directive 1986, Christians are allowed to use four Arabic words, namely Allah, Baitullah, Kaabah and solat, in their religious publication for educational purposes on condition that the words “For Christians” are written on the cover of such books.

The Administrative Directive issued by the ministry in December, however, prohibits the use of the four Arabic words in all Christian publications in Malaysia.

“In regard to this matter, the government’s decision not to proceed with the appeal was made on a case-by-case basis; without affecting the facts of each case that is currently in the court process,” he told a press conference after presenting the 2022 Excellent Service Award for the Immigration Department’s staff here today.

Saifuddin said the ministry is more focused on aspects of public order in line with Article 11(5) of the Federal Constitution which provides that freedom of religion does not allow any act that is contrary to any general law related to public order, public health or morality.

“KDN is committed to defending and protecting the interests of Islam, the Malays and the Royal Institution in Malaysia, especially in the issue of using the word of Allah in accordance with Article 11(1) and Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution.

“The two Articles provide that although every individual has the right to profess and practice his religion, he is still subject to federal or state laws that can control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among Muslims,” he said.

Yesterday, the KDN and the Government of Malaysia were reported to have withdrawn their appeal against the decision of the Kuala Lumpur High Court which ruled that Christians can use the word ‘Allah’ and the three other Arabic words in the publication of their religious material for learning purposes.

Jill Ireland applied for judicial review on Aug 20, 2008, for the return of eight compact discs (CDs) with titles containing the word ‘Allah’ which were confiscated from her on May 11 of the same year. She also applied for a declaration of her constitutional rights to use the word ‘Allah’ in her Christian publications.

In 2014, the court ordered the CDs to be returned to the woman, and after going through several proceedings, ruled that the directive by the ministry in 1986 not to allow the use of the four words is filled with illegality and irrationality.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency