KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 ― The Catholic Church must no longer use the Malay language in its Herald weekly as continuing to do so was to challenge the Federal Court’s final decision on the “Allah” case, a Muslim coalition demanded today.
The Pembela coalition claimed that Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew’s remark that the paper will retain its Malay section despite exhausting legal options to challenge a ban on its use of the Arabic word, disrespected the court ruling despite not stating that he would use “Allah”.
It also urged the police to arrest and take strict action against those who disobey the ruling by Federal Court on Wednesday, which rejected the Catholic Church’s bid for the apex court to hear its appeal on its constitutional right to use “Allah”.
“Yes,” Pembela chairman Mohamed Hafiz Mohd Nordin replied in a text message to Malay Mail Online, when asked to clarify if it was demanding the Herald stop publishing in Malay altogether.
Pembela this morning released a statement denouncing Andrew and others who allegedly do not respect and are disputing the court’s decision, and labelled them extremists.
“Although they did not say that the sacred name of ‘Allah’ will be specifically used, Pembela denounces the statement that showed their stubbornness to show respect and obedience towards the apex court’s decision, and refusal to obey current laws,” Hafiz said in the statement.
“We would like to advise all parties, including the Catholic magazine chief editor to acquaint themselves with this country’s laws and Rukunegara, to protect the harmonious interfaith relationship in this multicultural country.”
On Wednesday, the Federal Court again rejected the Catholic Church’s bid for the apex court to hear its appeal on its constitutional right to use “Allah”, marking an end to remaining legal avenues in the years-long case.
However, Andrew insisted that the Herald will still publish in Malay, as the Catholic Church has a sizeable number of Malay-speaking members, which the Christian community said have been using the Arabic word for God over centuries.