PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has denied claims that Putrajaya did not consult the Conference of Rulers and the state religious councils before deciding to withdraw its appeal against a ruling on a Sarawakian woman’s right to use “Allah” in her religious learning.
Anwar said the matter was referred to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who asked the government to ensure that all decisions must be in line with the position taken by the rulers.
He was replying to questions on the issue in the Dewan Rakyat this morning.
Opposition leader Hamzah Zainudin was among those who had questioned if the government consulted the Malay rulers before deciding to withdraw its appeal against the High Court ruling.
“The issue of (the Conference of Rulers and state religious councils) not being consulted does not even arise,” Anwar said.
In line with the decision by the rulers, he said, the word “Allah” could be used so long as the words “For Christians” were printed on the cover of the books or materials.
He also said the Attorney-General’s Chambers found the grounds for appeal to be weak as the lower court’s ruling was in line with the position taken by the Malay rulers.
Earlier, Idris Ahmad (PN-Bagan Serai) had asked if the government had consulted the Malay rulers and state religious councils before “quietly” deciding to withdraw its appeal against the 2021 High Court decision.
In March 2021, the High Court, in a landmark decision, ruled that Sarawakian Jill Ireland can use the word “Allah” for the purpose of religious education in Malay and her native Melanau language.
Then High Court judge Nor Bee Ariffin said a Dec 5, 1986 home ministry directive to prohibit the use of the words “Allah”, “Baitullah”, “Solat” and “Kaabah” by non-Muslims was illegal.
The government decided to abandon its appeal against the High Court ruling on April 18.
On May 17, Anwar said the Cabinet will submit its recommendations on the “Allah” issue to the Conference of Rulers.
He said the Cabinet had obtained the King’s green light to submit its recommendations related to government directives on the usage of the word “Allah”, among others.
Today, Anwar said the recommendations will be presented to the Malay rulers in July.
Source : FMT