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KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 15 — The Selangor chapter of Muafakat Nasional praised the federal government today over its decision to contest the High Court’s decision invalidating a 1986 directive prohibiting Christians from using the word “Allah” in their publications.
The informal pact comprising Umno and PAS in the state also expressed hope that the government would succeed in overturning the ruling from last week.
“Indeed, this appeal is in line with the wishes of the country’s majority Muslim community that has been restless and concerned with the High Court decision, which was seen as threatening their sensitivities and likely to create communal tension,” said Umno’s Tan Sri Noh Omar and Datuk Ahmad Yunus Hairi from PAS.
“Selangor Muafakat Nasonal’s stand is that multiracial and multireligious harmony must be preserved without giving any room to issues that could jeopardise or disrupt the existing stability.”
Earlier today, the government filed its notice of appeal to the decision.
On March 10, the High Court here ruled that the government directive via a December 5, 1986 circular issued by the Home Ministry’s publications control division was unlawful and unconstitutional.
The ruling was for Sarawakian Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill’s legal challenge against the government’s seizure of her eight educational compact discs (CDs) containing the word “Allah” in their titles and which were meant for her personal use.
The word “Allah” is Arabic for God and has been adopted into the Malay language. It has been used for generations by Malay-speaking Christians in the country, especially those in Sabah and Sarawak.