IF politicians and their operatives think they can gain mileage by exploiting the Home Ministry’s recent decision to withdraw an appeal against a High Court ruling on the Jill Ireland case, they better think twice.
Its Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail had earlier explained that the appeal was withdrawn because a Cabinet’s decision on Dec 19, 1986 contradicted the government directive subsequently issued by Home Ministry under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.
Saifuddin’s word of caution came timely in view of a protest rally which was organised by PAS and Malay-dominant non-governmental organisation PERKASA, which according to StarTV, was to protest the use of the word Allah by non-Muslims.
The protest went ahead in Shah Alam after Friday prayers on May 19 in spite of strict police orders.
It is bizarre why PAS did not heed its own President Tan Sri Hadi Awang’s advice that non-Muslims cannot be restricted from using the word Allah in their own publications. It was as if there were hidden hands behind the said demonstration.
Netizen, Azlan Adnan of Green Party in a video he produced described the entire play up as “making a mountain out of a molehill”.
Shah Alam deputy police chief Superintendent Ramsay Embol said the police has opened an investigation under Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012. “The individuals involved have been identified for further action, including getting their statements recorded,” he was quoted as saying.
He had earlier urged the public not to participate in the illegal rally near the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah mosque.
This followed stern warning by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani that the police was serious in curbing the 3R elements (race, religion and royalty) especially on social media.
In solving the long-standing issue, the Madani government is likely to consider all views before presenting its proposal to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for his royal consent.
A joint statement by a total of 18 MPs, four Senators and 31 state assemblymen have expressed their support for “the High Court’s ruling to allow all Malaysians to pray to Allah.”
Not every Muslim, however, adopts the stance of both PAS and PERKASA that threatened to hold a bigger demonstration which is seen largely a politically and emotionally-driven attempt to de-stabilise the unity government.
The recent debate on the Allah controversy had current issues commentator Imraz Ikhbal offering his views and clarification over the Jill Ireland case.
Imraz, whose views on a number of issues have gone viral on social media, blamed some politicians and religious leaders who are exploiting the situation to gain political mileage while inciting fellow Muslims to be angry due to a misplaced perception “as if the Madani government had allowed the kafir (non-believers) to use the word Allah.”
Reiterating what Saifuddin had earlier said, Imraz explained that the court case was a straightforward one.
“Even if it went to the federal court, the decision would be the same because the directive (issued by the Home Ministry) contradicted the Cabinet’s decision,” he said, citing that the Home Ministry did the right thing to withdraw the appeal.
“Such an issue should not drag on as it is taking up a lot of court’s time and puts the government in bad light,” he opined while highlighting the government’s intention is to manage the peace and harmony in a multi-racial and multi-religious society.
It is learnt that Ireland was on transit way back to Sarawak from Indonesia where she had obtained the eight compact disc (CDs) in question. Her CDs were confiscated at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) (now KLIA2 because it contained the word Allah.
Weighing in on Saifuddin’s explanation, Perlis Mufti Associate Professor Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin took onto the social media to explain the issue from the theological perspective.
In a video, Dr Mohd Azri who is better known as Dr Maza said the Allah issue is unique to Malaysia due to the opinion of certain quarters. And it is the politicians who capitalise on it as their campaign agenda.
In a simple question, Dr Maza asked: “How did the Arabs address God? In the past even before Prophet Mohamad came to the scene, the Arabs had used the word Allah.”
Appearing to have spoken from behind a rostrum, the outspoken mufti put things in perspective: “They used the Arabic word Allah because Allah in Arabic simply means the Almighty (Yang Maha Besar).”
As a Muslim scholar himself, Dr Maza added: “For that reason, when he became the ruler (of Makkah), the Prophet never once prohibited non-Muslims from using the word Allah.”
Dr Maza further emphasised that the Quran on the contrary said the Prophet encouraged non-Muslims to acknowledge Allah as God.
Some politicians, however, think that they can continue to win Malay and Muslim votes by exploiting the Allah controversy to further confuse people and fuel the perception that the unity government is being `un-Islamic’ themselves.
They may find that their old strategy no longer works in modern times when even ordinary Malaysians can access the social media to understand the ploys behind the constant attacks on the Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional (PH-BN) government installed by the Agong. – May 21, 2023
Main pic credit: StarTV