Monday, January 18, 2010

Kalimah Allah : Its too late for dialogue - Nazri

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 — Contrary to public opinion, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz (picture) thinks the court is the only way to bring an end to the “Allah” debate.

While his Cabinet colleagues, including fellow Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom, have been pushing to bring religious leaders to the table to settle the simmering stew, Nazri says it is too late for a dialogue.

“It’s too late. I’ve mentioned it many times,” the minister in charge of law and parliamentary affairs said when asked his opinion on the best way to resolve dilemma, which appears to be pitting the Malaysian Muslim community against the non-Muslims.

“It was the failure of the rundingan that resulted in the matter being brought to court,” he pointed out.

“It’s not the fault of the government. Let it be known that it was Tan Sri Pakiam, not the government, who brought the matter to court,” Nazri stressed.

The Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Reverend Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam representing the Roman Catholic Church had taken the federal government to court after the home minister banned the church newspaper from publishing the word “Allah” three years ago.

The High Court, had on December 31 last year, ruled that Herald had the constitutional right to publish the word in the Christian publication,to cater to its Bahasa Malaysia-speaking followers.

If there was to be any out-of-court settlement over the “Allah” row, Pakiam, as the official publisher of Herald — the Catholic Weekly, must make the first move, the government minister added.

“I got no choice as the minister in charge of law. Because of Tan Sri Pakiam, I must be the person to advise the government that we must use the courts-lah,” Nazri, who is also Padang Renggas MP said.

He said if he did not take that stand, the public would also lose their confidence in the country’s judiciary system.

“If I don’t do that, people may say, ‘Apa ini, menteri undang-undang tak konfiden dengan mahkamah ke? (What is this, the law minister is not confident with the court?)” Nazri added, half-jokingly.

“We must respect the system. So I’m using the court system to appeal the court decision,” he said.

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