Saturday, 13 February 2010

"Allah" case - a misrepresentation by our government?

I know this is an old issue, so this is a little late.

The 'Allah' decision back in middle January by the High Court of Malaya may include the subject matter of the word 'Allah' but the legal substance and principle matter in issue in that case is the extent of the Home Minister's power to curtail the usage of a certain word.

I do not wish to bore the readers with a legal cross reference of this case and that statute, but safe to say, the High Court Judge in that case had to decide if a Home Minister can ban the word like "Allah" from being used by non-muslims. This is significant! For, if the High Court confirms that the Home Minister has such a power, then the next question to ask is 'To what extent?".

It is a simple logic. If a Home Minister can ban usage of that word, can it also mean that the Home Minister can also ban words like 'Tuhan", "Geraja", "Masjid" etc. Is it also possible that if the Home Minister is a big football fan, and happen to support a team like, say Everton; can he ban that word from being used by any other fan? And to say in the ban that any usage of that word by a non-fan will be dealt with by the law?

The High Court has, in my view, accurately decided the issue, and held that the Minister does not have such a power. A perusal of the Federal Constitution and the relevant Federal statutes, which clearly evidence that the law does not accord such a power to the Home Minister.

Long story short - the Home Minister does not have the power to ban such words of any words, for that matter.

The Home Minister now informs us Malaysians, that the Ministry intends to appeal to the Court of Appeal. What he is appealing against is not about the usage of that word "Allah" but whether the Ministry has such a power.

Will the Court of Appeal rise and defend the law? Will they be influenced by top Judge(s) who were formerly member(s) of the ruling party, now sitting in the Palace of Justice?

I believe, if the Judges at the Court of Appeal, do what they are suppose to do; and that is to apply the law then they will dismiss the Appeal.

I am aware that I will receive brickbats for being critical of the Judiciary at Putra Jaya, but I am only a wee tax-paying Malaysian, wanting our Courts to defend the law; hoping that the law will not be skewed.

So long as practise my freedom to speak responsibly, I believe I have a right to gently remind our Judges at the Court of Appeal (and Federal Court if the case may be) to just apply the law, and nothing else but the law.

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