You don’t have that power, Home Minister!

An opinion on why the High Court was correct in its application of the law in respect of the “Allah” issue and that the Court of Appeal should affirm that decision.

The Allah” decision back in middle of January by the High Court of Malaya may include the subject matter of the word “Allah” but the legal substance and principle matter in issue in that case is the extent of the Home Minister’s power to curtail the usage of a certain word.

I do not wish to bore the readers with a legal cross reference of this case and that statute, but safe to say, the High Court judge in that case had to decide if a Home Minister can ban a word, such as “Allah,” from being used by non-Muslims. This is significant. For if the High Court confirms that the Home Minister has such a power, then the next question to ask is, to what extent?

It is simple logic. If a Home Minister can ban usage of that word, can it also mean that the Home Minister can also ban words like “Tuhan,” “Geraja,” “Masjid,” etc? Is it also possible that if the Home Minister is a big football fan, and happen to support a team like, say Everton; can he ban that name from being used by any other fan? And to add into that ban that any usage of that word by a non-fan will be dealt with by the law?

The High Court has, in my view, correctly decided the issue, and held that the Minister does not have such a power. A perusal of the Federal Constitution and the relevant Federal statutes, clearly demonstrates that the law does not accord such a power to the Home Minister.

To cut a long argument short – the Home Minister does not have the power to ban such words of any words, for that matter.

The Home Minister now informs us Malaysians, that the Ministry intends to appeal to the Court of Appeal. What he is appealing against is not about the usage of that word “Allah” but whether the Ministry has such a power.

Will the Court of Appeal rise and defend the law? Will they be influenced by top Judge(s) who were formerly member(s) of the ruling party, now sitting in the Palace of Justice? Will the Court of Appeal be cowered into doing so after the judiciary’s website was hacked into and defaced with a threat to reverse the High Court decision?

I believe, if the Judges at the Court of Appeal, do what they are suppose to do, that is to apply the law then they should dismiss the Appeal.

I am aware that I will receive brickbats for being critical of the Judiciary at Putrajaya, but I am only a wee tax-paying Malaysian, wanting our Courts to defend the law; hoping that the law will not be skewed.

So long as practise my freedom to speak responsibly, I believe I have a right to gently remind our Judges at the Court of Appeal (and Federal Court if the case may be) to just apply the law, and nothing else but the law.

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Posted on 17 February 2010. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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