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Friday, June 27, 2014

There was BIAS in Allah court decision - Sarawak Ministers' Fellowship

There was BIAS in Allah court decision - Sarawak Ministers' Fellowship
The Sarawak Ministers’ Fellowship (SMF) is utterly disappointed with the Federal Court decision delivered last Monday which denied the Catholic Church leave to appeal against a decision of the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal last October had ruled that the Catholic Church organ, The Herald was prohibited from using the word “Allah” in its Bahasa Malaysia edition.
The Sarawak Ministers’ Fellowship is a coalition of pastors and Christian ministers fellowships from throughout Sarawak.
The Federal Court decision has a deep impact on Sarawak’s bumiputra Christians who for about 150 years have addressed God as “Allah Taala” in their worship and liturgy and when holding prayers in their native languages.
The SMF is of the view that the judges of the Federal Court had abdicated their duty to give the catholic church a due hearing and an opportunity to adequately ventilate its viewpoint on the 28 questions submitted to the court. By empanelling 5 Muslim judges out of the coram of 7 the judiciary has created the inescapable impression that there was a tendency of bias in favour of Islam. Having said that the Fellowship noted that one of the Muslim judges had voted in favour of granting the Catholic Church leave to appeal.
The judiciary had also lost a valuable opportunity to show to the whole world its capacity to give a reasoned and intellectually satisfying decision on the issues posed to it by the catholic church. Instead the Court had taken the easy way out and a short cut by dismissing the leave application. The court had displayed a cowardice is refusing to face the questions posed to it and had failed the whole of Malaysia is not give it true legal opinion on the dispute between the Catholics Church and the Ministry of Home Affair’s. In dismissing the application the Federal Court, which ought to have spoken as the collective conscience of the Malaysian people, had failed to uphold the spirit and intent of Article 8 and Article 11 Federal Constitution.
Rural churches is Sarawak who largely worship in their native languages or Bahasa Malaysia will find that the latest Federal Court decision has immediately made their worshippers fall foul of the law when they go to church this Sunday. In one stroke the four Muslim judges had made criminal of these Christians when they pray and address God as Allah Taala.
The SMF questions whether the Federal Court had taken into account the assurances granted to the peoples of Sarawak at the formation of Malaysia, on 16 September 1963, that their religious freedom was one of the key fundamental guarantees.
The SMF concludes that the so called 10-point agreement that was issued just prior to the last Sarawak state elections was without any sincerity or and was only given for political expedience and to win votes. Further the SMF is of the view that the one-country two-laws position announced by Prime Minister Datuk Najib Tun Razak was without any basis in law or principle either. The Prime Minister had announced during a visit to Sarawak and Sabah that the Court of Appeal decision banning Christians from using the term All would not be enforced in the East Malaysian States.
SMF also questions the plight of the thousands of Sarawakians who work or study in Semenanjung Malaysia. Are these to become instant criminals the day they start reading their bibles in their mother tongue. The Court of Appeal’s conclusion that the bibles in Bahasa Malaysia are a threat to national security is not supported or borne out by the opinion of the Attorney General who recently concluded that the bibles seized from the Bible Society of Malaysia offices in Selangor are no security threat to Malaysia. Sarawakian Christians are now placed in a quandary over the precious bible in their possession. On one hand the Attorney General says these are safe while the highest Court of the land has confirmed the view that these are a security threat.
The Sarawak Ministers’ Fellowship urges the government to review its position on the ban on Christians in Malaysia using the term Allah in their liturgy and worship and to bring their regulation in line with those in Arab-speaking Muslim majority countries. -Sarawak Ministers' Fellowship

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