06 January, 2010

Judge was wrong in ‘Allah’ decision ?

With such super efficiency, the Kuala Lumpur High Court today granted a stay in favour of the Home Ministry to stop Catholic weekly magazine Herald, from using the word 'Allah' pending an appeal.

Earlier, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has come out in defence of the Home Ministry’s move in appealing to the Court of Appeal over the controversial “Allah” issue.

He said that High Court judge Lau Lee Lan, who made the ruling that Catholics could use the word “Allah” in their weekly publication Herald, was wrong.

Nazri asserted that the judicial review was supposed to be on whether the Home Minister had the power to impose the ban, not on whether non-Muslims should be allowed to use the word “Allah”.

“In my opinion, the judge has erred in making the decision. The issue is whether the Home Minister had the power to impose a ban on the Catholic church in using the term “Allah”, not whether “Allah” can be used or not.

“The Home Minister was definitely acting within his powers in exercising the ban, in view of public interest and sensitivities in order to avoid public unrest over the matter,” said Nazri.

The stay order application was heard in chambers by High Court judge Lau Bee Lan. Attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail (right) appeared in person for the ministry while Derek Fernandez and Benjamin Dawson appeared for Herald.

"We have asked and the lawyers representing the Catholic church have agreed to the stay, out of national interest," said Gani Patail.

Fernandez agreed that the church has consented to the AG's request.

However, he said the public should now refrain from commenting further on the decision.

Angry reaction over the use of the word 'Allah' by non-Muslims is set to peak after Friday prayers at several mosques nationwide.

More Muslim groups are adamant on protesting and are urging congregations to unite in a show of dissatisfaction, despite calls for calm by government leaders.

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