Cakap Tak Serupa Bikin

When views from a “constitutional expert” are needed, you can pretty much bet your mortgage that The Malaysian Insider will wheel out Aziz Bari to give his 2 cents.

Sure enough, when the Sultan of Selangor recently issued a statement on the usage of Allah by non-Muslims, an article carrying Aziz Bari’s comments duly appeared on TMI. The article begins with: “State rulers in Malaysia have no power to suspend or deny the rights of non-Muslims to refer to God as Allah or their rights to religious freedom“, which I suppose summarizes what Aziz Bari had to say on the matter. This, by implication, would suggest that “denying the rights of the non-Muslims” was what he thought the Sultan was trying to do in this instance.

However if you read the actual statement, it should be quite clear to you that the Sultan was doing no such thing. He was merely reminding his subjects to abide by laws that were already on the state’s books. The Sultan did not write the ENAKMEN UGAMA BUKAN ISLAM (KAWALAN PENGEMBANGAN DI KALANGAN ORANG ISLAM) 1988. It wasn’t even him who gave consent for it to become law. This enactment was passed by the state DUN long before he ascended to the throne.

As a PKR candidate in the recent general elections, one would expect Aziz Bari’s words to reflect the party’s views on the matter. Indeed, Anwar Ibrahim has consistently come out in support of the Church’s right to use “Allah” to refer to the Christian God. Other Muslim leaders within PR such as Khalid Samad too have come out vocally in support of this position. Lim Guan Eng, in his Christmas address last year, implored the Federal government “to allow the use of the word Allah on the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Bible”.

But here’s the thing. For all their bluster and rhetoric, PR have done absolutely nothing to follow up on their pronouncements where they actually have had the power to do so, for example in Selangor and Kelantan.

The PR government in Selangor has had 5 years to repeal the Enakmen Ugama Bukan Islam 1988, yet why hasn’t an amendment even been tabled in the dozen or so DUN sessions since they came to power? They now have a super majority in the Selangor DUN. Surely it would be just a formality for them to repeal such an unjust law. If they really wanted to.

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