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Archbishop John Ha: Lift the ‘Allah’ ban

ha1KUCHING  – The Archbishop of Kuching, John Ha said Putrajaya has the power to lift the ‘Allah’ ban on HERALD after a recent judgment by the Federal Court which states otherwise. The fact that three out of a seven-man Federal Court bench gave dissenting judgments on the recent ‘Allah’ case is an indication there are cogent grounds for the decision to be reviewed by another panel of the apex court, said the Christian leader from Sarawak on 5 July 2014.

Archbishop John Ha of the Archdiocese of Kuching also said, given Putrajaya’s immediate statement to assure Christians that the ban was limited to the HERALD, and that the 10-point solution still stood, shows that the Federal government had the power to lift the ban on the use of the word ‘Allah’ in the Bahasa Malaysia section of the HERALD.

Expressing his disappointment and concern over the Federal Court’s decision not to grant leave to the Catholic Church in the HERALD case, Archbishop Ha said he took consolation that the decision was not unanimous.

He pointed out that there was also a lot of dissatisfaction over the Court of Appeal judgment that overturned the earlier High Court judgment which effectively lifted the ban by the Home Minister on the HERALD from using the word ‘Allah.’ Archbishop Ha added that the dissatisfaction arose from what was perceived as “flaws” in the reasons given by the Court of Appeal.

Archbishop Ha said, granting leave for the case to be heard by the Federal Court would have provided a golden opportunity for issues of constitutional rights and protection for freedom of religion to be articulated by the highest court in the country.

“Like all Heads of Churches – and for that matter, like most, if not all Christians – I am very disappointed by and deeply concerned over the implications of the Federal Court’s decision not to grant leave to the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur to bring the “HERALD case” (the ban of the use of the term “Allah” by the HERALD) to the Federal Court. Nonetheless, there is the consolation that the decision was not unanimous. Three of the seven judges on the panel gave a dissenting decision. This fact indicates that there are cogent grounds for the decision to be reviewed by another panel of the Federal Court,” said Ha.

The Archbishop urged “I call on all Christians not to panic in the face of the present predicament with regard to the HERALD case. For God, there is never a cul-de-sac. He will open a path for us and for the whole nation to move on, as He did when His people had the Egyptian army behind them and the Sea of Reeds in front. For sure, we need to continue to do our part to get the issue at hand resolved and pray to God to open a path for us. We are committed to living in peace and harmony with all fellow Malaysians and being respectful towards all ethnic as well as religious communities. For everyone is a creature and child of God. We want to ensure that the rights of all citizens be upheld and protected, especially the right to practise our faith freely. May God bless Malaysia and grant our leaders the wisdom and courage to ensure that the rights of all citizens enshrined in the Federal Constitution be safeguarded. May our judiciary be the body to guarantee justice and protection of the rights of all citizens.” – Herald

For full text of statement go to: www.heraldmalaysia.com

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