Brief of issues
1. The Printing Presses And Publications Act was introduced in 1984. Under Control of Undesirable Publications of the Act ;section 7, the Kementerian dalam Negeri introduced Garis Panduan Penerbitan Kementerian Dalam Negeri (“Guidelines”).
2. A letter issued by Kementerian Dalam Negeri dated 19.05.1986 instructed and expressly among others stated that the words ‘Allah’, ‘Kaabah’, ‘Solat’ and ‘Baitullah’ shall not be used by the Herald, the Catholic-weekly; a publication belonging to the Titular Roman Catholic Church of Kuala Lumpur. Such words are deemed as sensitive to the Muslim Community and may cause disharmony, disunity and confusion among the community especially the Malay Muslim community.
3. The Church has consistently breached the Guidelines by reproducing the publication in the Herald containing the words ‘Allah’. Although they have been advised each time by the Kementerian Dalam Negeri to cease publishing the word ‘Allah’ in their publication, they have blatantly disregarded the Guideliness.
4. The Church has now sought to challenge this Guideliness through legal process by filing a Writ of Summons on 15.12.2007 for a Declaration that the Church among others;
a. That the Church is entitled to use the word ‘Allah’ in their publication;
b. That the Guideliness by the Kementerian Dalam Negeri is illegal;
c. and the use of the word ‘Allah’ is not exclusive for the religion of Islam.
5. Subsequently the Church filed application for leave dated 19.03 08 for a judicial review opposing the Guidelines which was heard and granted leave by the Court on 5.05.2008. The effect of the leave granted allows the Church to challenge the Guidelines and continue to use the word ‘Allah’ in the Church’s publication among others;
a. That the decision or stand taken by respondent on their application permit for the period 01.01.08 until 31.12.08 should not be subjected to ‘GARIS PANDUAN PENERBITAN’ dated 01.03.07 which prohibits the word “Allah” in “Herald – The Catholic Weekly” is null and void.
b. They are entitled to use the word “Allah” in “Herald – The Catholic Weekly”
c. the use of the word ‘Allah’ is not exclusive for the religion of Islam.
d. They applied for Order of Certiorari to quash the decision of the respondent based on ‘GARIS PANDUAN PENERBITAN’.
e. They applied for a stay of the decision of the respondent.
6. The decision of the judicial review and writ of summons by the Court may allow the Church not to be bound by the Guidelines and claim the right to use the word ‘Allah’ by the Christians.
7. This will open a floodgate for other Beliefs to challenge the Guidelines and use the word Allah in their practise.
8. Our response and concern at this juncture is due primarily to the confusion, uncertainty and disharmony it shall caused to the Muslim community especially the Malays who are largely practising Islam and Muslim of other races
9. The concept of Allah as understood, embraced and practised by the Muslim community in Malaysia is totally distinct and separate from the concept as understood by the Church conceptually, culturally and theologically.
10. The concept of Allah embraced by the Muslim community in Malaysia as defined in the context of Muslim and Malay tradition, culture and history is Allah in a MONOTHEIST (TAUHID) sense as opposed to the concept of TRINITY of God as understood by the Church.
11. Faced with the challenges impacting the interests and unity of the Muslims especially the Malay Muslim community, Majlis Agama Islam of States view this development with the deepest of concern and alarm and have subsequently filed applications to be admitted as interveners to the Church’s application namely in the Writ of Summon and Review.