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By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Mar 10: It is unhealthy and incorrect to politicise religion to gain popularity and the High Court in Kuala Lumpur has made the right decision to put things into perspective.
This is the view of Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing who condemns the politicising of the use of the word “Allah” by certain quarters for political gains and created a strange new issue of the word “Allah” cannot be used by non-Muslims.
“There should be a separation between religion and politics. Leave religion to houses of worship,” said Masing who is also president of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS).
He was commenting on the recent development where Kuala Lumpur High Court has ruled that the non-Muslim community may use the word “Allah” in their preaching and publications.
The High Court said the community can also use the words “Baitullah”, “Kaabah” and “solat” for teaching purposes which the Malaysian government has banned for 35 years.
The landmark decision was made by Court of Appeal judge Datuk Nor Bee Ariffin, who sat as a High Court judge.
She allowed the judicial review by a Christian woman from Sarawak, Jill Ireland, to practise her constitutional right and religion freely in this country.
Masing said Malaysians as a whole should celebrate this right verdict passed by the High Court as the freedom to worship is clearly stated in the Malaysian Constitution.
“The High Court has made a correct decision by delivery such a verdict.
“Malaysia as a nation should celebrate the High Court’s decision as it shows that Malaysia is a country of law and order, which honours the freedom of freedom as enshrined by the Malaysian Constitution,” Masing told DayakDaily.
He stressed that the lifting of the ban on the use of the word “Allah” by Christians showed that freedom of religion is very much alive and well in Malaysia and the Constitution continues to carry the force of law in this country.
Masing added that the word “Allah” precedes Islam and the term should not be hijacked by any community or for any community to claim custody of its usage.
“Christians in Sarawak have been using the word since the arrival of missionaries in the 1800s. We use the term all the time and suddenly, we were told that we could not use it anymore.
“We must bear in mind that the use of the word ‘Allah’ precedes many religions. Thus the term ‘Allah’ is not the sole custodian of any religious community,” said Masing. — DayakDaily