Anwar Ibrahim: Apex court’s ‘Allah’ decision leaves country ‘in greater despair’

It is unfortunate that a great opportunity has been lost for reasoned and enlightened thinking to prevail over rabble-rousing and extremist sentiments, says Anwar Ibrahim.

The Herald has been barred from using the term Allah - Photograph: Wikipedia

The Herald has been barred from using the term Allah – Photograph: Wikipedia

I view with grave concern the Federal Court’s decision to deny leave on 23 June with regard to the “Allah” ban upon the Herald publication.

This is an important legal and constitutional issue with major implications for Malaysians. It was therefore incumbent for the Federal Court to give guidance to the nation.

The very fact that the decision to dismiss the leave application was upon a slim 4-3 majority showed there were important legal and constitutional questions to be decided.

The Judiciary must not abdicate its duty; by not deciding, it allows irresponsible elements such as Perkasa, Isma and Umno to hijack the national discourse with divisive, confrontational and wrong-headed views.

Disturbingly, Perkasa has even suggested decapitation of those who disagree with them. Let it be clear that we will not accept such thuggery and criminality, and will uphold the right of Malaysians to peacefully air their views without being subjected to threats of violence.

It is unfortunate that a great opportunity has been lost for reasoned and enlightened thinking to prevail over rabble-rousing and extremist sentiments.

The Federal Court’s non-decision and Najib Razak’s complete lack of leadership only place this country in further anxiety and uncertainty.

I urge all parties not to let this issue affect the harmonious and good inter-racial and inter-religious relations upon which this country has been built, and for all of us to work towards understanding and respecting each other as fellow Malaysians.

Anwar Ibrahim is the member of parliament for Permatang Pauh and parliamentary opposition leader

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