BEE LIAN LAU – WHAT WAS SHE THINKING?

INTRODUCTION 

In the absence of a clear written judgement (not published at the time of writing this article)  giving reasons for her decision delivered instead  ex tempore, we are reliant on information supplied to us from various sources within and outside Malaysia in this matter.

Our information includes extracts from published media reports on this controversial decision by Bee Lian Lau J of the High Court of Malaysia.

The decision referred to here is the decision of Bee Lian Lau J in the Catholic Herald vs the Attorney General of Malaysia . The issues raised and contested in the matter of the Catholic Herald vs the Attorney General of Malaysia revolves around  the following question:

does the Catholic  church under the provisions of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia have a license or  an unqualified right, to substitute the word God (a word it has used since time immemorial) for the word ‘Allah’ in  in the context of the propagation of the Catholic faith in Malaysia?”

The decision of Bee Lian Lau J in short answers that question in the affirmative. It supports the perceived or claimed “right” by the Catholic church to use the word Allah.

Her decision in this matter defies logic and flies in the face of reason. Handed down amid heightened inter religious tensions, controversy and a provocation of a large sector of Malaysia’s population, its Muslims, the problem is compounded and more confounding in the absence of logical and proper legal reasoning.

The controversial decision of Bee Lian Lau J in this matter was delivered in a week that saw the culmination of tensions rise to the boil with the fire bombing of Churches in peninsula Malaysia. (see; clause 5 of Article 11 Federal Constitution of Malaysia) and a broadening of inflammatory rhetoric from both sides of the religious divide affected by the decision.

OVERVIEW 

Theories of Constitution, constitutionalism, interpreting the constitution, jurisprudence and precedent are all areas of law Malaysian judges and  lawyers alike have demonstrated little interest in or developing and expanding their knowledge in. There is a plethora of material out there to support this contention.

Rather than to engage in robust legal argument, incisive analysis of substantive issues and theories of law, jurisprudence, fact or procedure that come before them the courts in Malaysia appear to prefer the ‘cut and paste’ method of applying ‘stare decisis’.

The consequence of an apparent deficit of critical knowledge or interest in wider and more analytical understanding of the law, the constitution and jurisprudence, is often a mixture of volatile and politically driven quarrels and judgments.

Judgments and arguments too often bear the stamp of partiality, influenced by the legal profession’s shallow understanding of subject matters of the law and their partisanship in the politics of the country.

This problem is further compounded by the racial and cultural polarization of the communities, infected by political and religious considerations rather than common sense, logic, legal reasoning or an understanding of Malaysia’s otherwise workable constitution.

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION OR VIOLATION OF A PROHIBITED QUALIFIED CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT?

The use of the word Allah or the prohibition on its use by non Muslims in Malaysia has more to do with limitations on free speech under the Constitution, than it has to do with any proclaimed absolute freedom of religion or speech, ‘implied’ or otherwise.

The vexed subject of ‘freedom of expression and religion’ is as much about questions of national security and threats to peace and stability. The constitution says so.

It is not about how petty the cause of any threat to national security arising from the freedoms of religion or speech are. The threat in this case identified is the consequence arising from the unauthorized use of a single word ‘Allah’ and how its use by non Muslims offends Muslims. It is no small matter that can be overlooked by constitutional niceties.

If such a ‘constitutional right’ to use the word Allah by non Muslims in the context the Catholic church’s position in this matter exists, that right is not unconditional or absolute.

If there is evidence of the existence of an unconditional right’as claimed by Catholics and supported by Bee Lian Lau J’s decision, it is not out of a constitutional guarantee to an absolute freedom to exercise or not something the Church has succeeded in arguing before Bee Lian Lau’s court. Instead the contentious so called right  claimed by the Catholics appears to be a misreading of that which refers to freedoms of religion and free speech in the constitution, as a discretionary right, privilege or liberty to non Muslims. It arises out of convention and articles of the constitution which are subject to the dual conditions of peace and harmony. These are therefore ‘rights or privileges’ that are conditional and not absolute.

The application of articles 3, (4, 8, 10) and 11 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia (Constitution) relating to various freedoms, rights  to practice religion, freedom of speech and expression which to some extent Bee Lian Lau J relied upon in reaching her decision, appears to have been given a very selective and narrow interpretation and meaning.

The flaw in her reasoning  it appears was in her reading up the relevant provisions of the Constitution. She appears to have done so in order to achieve a particular desired outcome otherwise devoid of any legal reasoning, and to underpin that decision.

None of the provisions of the Constitution referred to above support the position that the Constitution provides any ‘guarantees’ to anyone or any freedoms or rights as is often argued by critics of government to exist in such matters under the Malaysian constitution.

Rather, these so called rights to freedoms of speech and religion appear to be qualified freedoms (or liberties) or rights couched in language as may appear to some to create rights to non Muslims and non Malays.

If they are indeed ‘rights‘ claimed by some, they are qualified ‘rights‘ subject to certain conditions and ‘rights‘ at the discretion of government in the name of the King.

And here are the reasons why we believe Bee Lian Lau J erred:

Article 3 Which Bee Lian Lau J refers to in her judgement:

(1) Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.

There is and had been tension and discord brewing amongst the various races and religious groups in Malaysia over the use of the word Allah by the Catholics in their weekly publication the Herald.

The consequence of the Herald’s use of the word Allah has given rise to a controversy and a threat to ‘peace and harmony’. A condition to the exercise of that ‘right’ in this case cannot be met. That condition being the peace and harmony condition.

This dispute concerns views and interpretations on the impact the use of the word Allah by Catholics has had on Muslims when it appeared in their publication the Catholic Herald and distributed widely to non Muslims (and perceived by Muslims to have been aimed at potential converts to Catholicism).

It is this act by the Catholics and the consequential perception by Muslims that the Catholics are being provocative, engaging in proselytization that has led to the debate taking on a dangerous and sinister dimension in the inevitable shape of an internecine inter religious dispute. (the peace and harmony condition is threatened).

These facts are not controverted by either side to this extent nor have they been pleaded  their case in this form except perhaps by the Attorney General.

WHAT CLAUSE (1) OF ARTICLE 3 REALLY SAYS

The conditions under which clause (1) of Article 3 of the Federal Constitution operate;

With respect to ‘freedom of religion’ ((“may be practiced”)) which in simple English cloaks the freedom (or ‘right‘) in discretionary language. On any reading of the article it cannot and does not constitute a guarantee of any sort as conveniently read by some. It is the qualifying words “in peace and harmony” that limits the ‘freedom of religion’ clause to conditions. It is not absolute or a guarantee.

When read in conjunction,one set of words with the other, the cautionary character of that particular clause and the meaning it conveys becomes clear and puts its meaning beyond doubt.

In plainer English than that in which it is written, this clause provides a discretion to government to allow the practice of other religions rather than to compel government to allow its practice or for government to guarantee the practice of other religions in Malaysia.

This clause (1) of article 3 of the Constitution expressly acknowledges that Islam is the religion of the Federation. Not subject to or existing alongside any others.  The Constitution in this clause is unequivocal in respect of the paramouncy of Islam over other religions in Malaysia.

As to the second part of the clause (1) of Article 3 of the Constitution, the expression “in peace and harmony”, it is clear from the conditions and consequential events that prevailed as a result of the action of the Catholic Herald, that ‘peace and harmony‘ is threatened and cannot be maintained (regardless of who the threats to peace and harmony is attributed to).

The disturbance or threat to ‘peace and harmony’ as referred to in clause (1) of Article 3 again without equivocation, gives rise to a discretion in the hands of executive government to exercise its powers in maintaining that ‘peace and harmony’ condition.

In preventing a debate of this nature from deteriorating into a conflict situation that threatens national security, political stability and civil strife, government is well within its rights and is empowered and compelled to act, even if that means curtailing the rights of some or all sectors of the community.

Bee Lian Lau J clearly failed to recognize or to engage more carefully in a proper reading of those words in the meaning of clause 1 of Article 3 of the Constitution. Her judgement is desultory and callous.

Further, Bee Lian Lau J, in her oral decision, is reported to have implied (expressly in the oral decision)  that:

 pursuant to Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution, it is  an offence for non-Muslims to use the word Allah to Muslims to propagate the religion”.  Adding further that:

it was not an offence for non-Muslims to use the word to the non-Muslims for the purpose of religion”, she added.

Interestingly the Constitution does not provide for the creation of an ‘offence‘ she refers to for use of the word Allah by non Muslims to Muslims in the propagation of their religion.

The offence and the interpretation of article 11(4) appears to be a creature of Bee Lian Lau J’s own imagination. Nothing more.

FOR CLARITY: Article 11 of the Federal Constitution (Malaysia) reads as follows:

Article 11

(1)Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and, subject to Clause (4), to propagate it.

(2) No person shall be compelled to pay any tax the proceeds of which are specially allocated in whole or in part for the purposes of a religion other than his own.

(3) Every religious group has the right –

(a) to manage its own religious affairs;

(b) to establish and maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes; and

(c) to acquire and own property and hold and administer it in accordance with law.

(4) State law and in respect of the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Lubuan, federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.

(5) This Article does not authorize any act contrary to any general law relating to public order, public health or morality.

Relevant to the issues at the heart of this debate and to Bee Lian Lau J’s controversial decision is, whether the Catholic Herald has the right to use the word Allah in its weekly publication or to use it in the propagation of its religion article 11 (4) and (5) considered.

Even if the Constitution in this article 11 clause (1) appears to confer that ‘right’ (in clause (1) of Article 11) on the Catholic Church, that ‘right’ in clause (1) of Article is qualified, restricted or subject to operation of the provisions of Article 11 clause (4) and (5).

Article 11 of the Constitution provides amongst other things in clause (1) that every person (one would have to read that it would include a corporate personality) has the right to profess and practice his religion, subject to clause (4), to propagate it.

Critical to understanding the confusion in the Catholic churches position and to Bee Lian Lau J’s reasoning in her judgment is this:

The Catholic church denies the word is being used to propagate the faith, especially amongst Muslims. That was a matter of evidence which ought to have been led, ventilated and tested in open court by the Attorney General . The attorney general appears to have failed in this regard.

MALAY MUSLIM SENSITIVITY OVER CATHOLIC EXERCISE OF CLAUSE (1) OF ARTICLE 11

The threat of or the actual propagation of the Catholic faith amongst Muslims is a matter squarely at the forefront of Muslim Malay anxiety. It is a matter for which no account was taken of or considered by the court as being relevant to the source of this conflict.  As a potential  trigger for a breach of peace and harmony, the exercise of that power by executive government in clause (4) of Article 11 became immediately valid and enforceable.

Given the history of the Catholic and other Christian Churches of late to aggressively proselytize and ‘harvest’ followers from amongst the Malay Muslim communities post 9/11 (Lina Joy being but one high profile example of the point we make) it is no wonder that the anxiety of Malays and Muslims is heightened to a fever pitch in Malaysia over the seemingly sinister use of the word Allah by Catholics.

POWER TO RESTRICT OR PROHIBIT USE OF ALLAH UNDER CLAUSE (4) AND (5) OF ARTICLE 3 OF THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION

Under clause (5) of Article 11 of the Constitution, the government’s right to restrict the use of the word Allah by the Catholic Herald is clearly and understandably justified and correct. This is because the use of the word Allah by the Catholic Herald is not authorized by clause (5) of Article which provides:

“This Article does not authorize any act clearly contrary to” any general law relating to public order, public health or morality”

Clause (4) of Article 11 provides;

State law and in respect of the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Lubuan, Federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam. 

Again, the judge was selectively oblivious to or had no understanding of the powers provided to the various states and territories in clause (4) of Article 11 of the Federal Constitution with respect to “the control or restriction of the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief”. 

The issue of propagation of the Catholic faith amongst Muslims,which the Catholic Herald as a medium of the Catholic Church is perceived by Muslims to be carrying out is further reinforced in the minds of the Muslims with the selective use of the word Allah.

The government sees the widespread availability of the Herald (not a restricted publication) as having a distribution capabilities of reaching ‘persons professing the religion of Islam’ referred to in clause (4) of Article 11 of the Constitution.

That power provided to the government at State, Territory and Federal level was for some reason overlooked by the judge in an extraordinary decision  without providing any further explanations for her oversight in this regard in reaching her decision.

Further, clause (4) of Article 11 does not impose conditions upon the executive government as to when it should or may use or apply that power at all. It is discretionary. Arguably a discretionary power in executive government which lies in the words “may control”.

If in their collective wisdom, the Federal or the various state governments within Malaysia decide that a particular act or omission by a religious group (in this case the act is the unauthorised use of the word Allah by the Catholic Church) amounts to propagating its faith amongst Muslims, then the government has a duty to act under the Constitution to prevent its use and the greater mischief that would result from its use.

Government’s duty to act in this regard need not necessarily be confined to its duty to Muslims but also to Malays because they constitute a not insignificant majority in a functioning parliamentary democracy which Malaysia is.

The Catholic Herald is not restricted in its distribution, though its distribution is logistically near impossible to restrict throughout Malaysia especially with the  advent of the internet.

FURTHER ERRORS IN THE BEE LIAN LAU JUDGEMENT

Bee Lian Lau J further appears to have embarrassed herself by making reference specifically to clause (5) of Article 11 which tightened the noose around her flawed interpretation of the relevant Article 11 of the Constitution and her decision in this matter.

Clause (5) of Article 11 when read in conjunction with the other clauses in Article 11 to give it its wider meaning, supports the government’s position in prohibiting or restricting the use of the word Allah by the Catholic Herald, which Bee Lian Lau J appears to have not understood or overlooked and here is why:

It provides in clause 5 of Article 11 of the Federal Constitution that:

This Article (11) does not authorize any act contrary to any general law relating to public order, public health or morality. Again it is difficult to see how she could have possibly escaped the qualification in ‘act contrary to public order’ when all the evidence clearly pointed to threats to the peace and harmony (public order) from the use of the word Allah by Catholics in this regard.

The fall out from Bee Lian Lau’s farcical and scandalous decision and the sectarian and communal divisions and public disquiet that preceded it, points to a right and an obligation on the part of the government to put paid to the Catholic Herald’s use of the word Allah.

The government’s action if for no other reason is justified for a breach of the provisions of clause (5) of Article 11 by the Catholic Church a fore mentioned.

It cannot possibly be read in any other way. The controversial use of the word Allah by the Catholic Herald has created a situation not only likely (and now with the benefit of evidence) but expressly going to affect public order and morality in a harmful, destablizing and negative way.

BEE LIAN LAU-ANOTHER NH CHAN OR CHRISTIAN ACTIVIST JUDGE?

Bee Lian Lau J, now at the shifting centre of this controversy over the use of the word Allah by the Malaysian Catholic Herald, has clearly usurped the power of parliament. She achieves this with her new and novel interpretation to those provisions of the Malaysian Constitution that apply to this debate. These are issues that concern religion and religious freedoms, freedom of speech and expression and the constitutional limitations that apply to each of these freedoms and ‘rights‘.

Bee Lian Lau J’s work is often described in the pejorative as Judicial Activism. And a Christian activist of a judge she is indeed.

Bee Lian Lau J has digressed and diverted attention from the critical issues that are at the heart of this controversy. She has produced a highly controversial and unbalanced judgement, devoid of any substantive critical and incisive legal reasoning or argument to underpin her decision as should be expected of an independent sitting judge.

Little is known of this judge whom the Catholics now refer to ‘that brave judge‘, others still, ‘a highly respected judge‘ (as was the cliched reference to NH Chan who expressed similar levels of ignorance over the Perak Constitution Crisis).

She has a Datukship. An honorific title.  It is seen by some as a badge of dishonour and by others still as that invisible tag that screams ‘non government property‘. There is little else to go by about her except for her dedication to Christianity and the missionary zeal attached to her beliefs that ought to have raised alarm bells when allocating to her the duty to preside over the matter.

The Allah issue has become such a religious and politically polarised issue it has divided the three main communities of Malaysia opening old wounds and threatening the racial harmony that has existed for some time.

This decision of Bee Lian Lau J inevitably pits her, her faith and her religious beliefs in her unique brand of Christianity against those of others in a multi racial multi confessional Malaysia. Others still being the state, the federal constitution and her duty to the constitution as a judge.

FAILURE TO DISCLOSE-A FATAL OMISSION

What Bee Lan Lau J failed to do and quite improperly so, was disclose her religious convictions, the missionary zeal with which she is known to pursue it, the emotional and spiritual conflicts she was faced with in confronting and deciding the matter she was entrusted to preside over as an independent judge.

.Her failure to disclose her potential or real conflicts of interest was tantamount to an act of intellectual, professional and personal dishonesty.

Her duty to independence at the bench is the highest responsibility she carries with her office as judge. That obligation and duty compelled her to disclose the extent of any commitment, personal belief or other interest including her religious beliefs and its potential for conflict with the law prior to her acceptance of the docket to preside over a matter as important as the trial of the Catholic Herald vs the Attorney General .

It is widely reported and not denied that Bee Lian Lau J spends a significant amount of time conducting bible classes outside of court hours (not an offence of itself).

She had an obligation in the public interest, which went beyond her private ‘right‘ to practice her religion in peace, to make disclosures about her faith and its potential for conflict in this matter. She failed to disclose it. She is a public person thrust willingly into an arena of conflict in which she may not have been independent.

She clearly had an interest and a conflicted interest at the time of making her decision.  A spiritual and  ecclesiastical interest likely to conflict with her temporal and secular duties as judge. An interest which logically may have compromised her independence and compelled her to place her religious priorities above those of the law. It was an interest operating against the principles of fairness and justice in this case.

The public had a right to know as did the Attorney General of Malaysia against whom the Catholic Church was pitted in this matter.  The Attorney General in this matter represented the interests of not just Malays or Muslims as is widely perceived to be by the opposition in Malaysia. The Attorney General was also batting for the non Catholics, the agnostics, the atheists, the many who may be neutral in this affair.

There is nothing on record to demonstrate any scholarship or seminal legal thesis either in a historic judicial decision engineered by her in her time as a lawyer in private practice or as a judge in Malaysia. Nor is there any evidence of any academic or professional achievement in any significant area of the law by her as an academic or legal commentator. She is really quite an under achiever in terms of her contribution to the legal profession and to the law. Till now that is.

From what may have been an argument about rights to freedom of expression or speech, she has embarked on a dangerous adventure, unnecessarily widening volatile issues and arguments with irrelevant additions to these, filtering out those issues that go to the core of this matter. Was it her religious compass at work at the time or her judicial training and impartiality in conflict resolution?

THREE POSSIBLE REASONS FOR HER FAILURES

In what may well have been an unsubtle exercise of political interference and personal bias in legal proceedings, Bee Lian Lau J appears to have side stepped her professional and legal obligations to be forensic and detached in arriving at her controversial decision last week.

It would appear that she may have allowed one or both of these considerations to interfere with her judgement. There is also a possible third reason for her performance. This being that she is totally and utterly unsuited and insufficiently informed in matters of the Constitution to have presided over a matter of such importance to issues of national security, constitutional and jurisprudential significance.

She clearly was out of her depth in having to decide this matter.

THE AFTERMATH 

The fire bombings regardless of whoever it is who carried it out, is evidence of that public order situation that ought to have been foreseen and prevented by government at the outset. It is a matter that was brewing on both sides of the divide now for some time.

Apparently this matter is not about to go away in a hurry because of a flawed decision or declaration (Whichever the case may be in the absence of a written judgement) by an inexperienced Bee Lian Lau J.

She has merely thrown more fat into the fire which has embarrassingly reflected once more for the public record the caliber of judicial incompetence in Malaysia.

JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT 

It is a widely held perception and a universally held one at that amongst academics and jurists, that a failure to deliver a written judgement by a judge constitutes a form of removable judicial misconduct.

On such a matter of grave national importance, critical to stability and internal security in a country as polarized and divided along religious and race lines as Malaysia is, it was incumbent on Bee Lian Lau J to produce a written judgement at least on the day immediately after the date of judgement which she did not do.  She could have nominated a future date for delivery of a written judgement with her reasons on that day of her judgement which she also failed to do.

Malaysia’s political woes appear to have its genesis in its courts and in a  shallow and inexperienced legal profession.

The country would do itself a huge favour by encouraging the entry of foreign legal practices and legal practitioners from other commonwealth jurisdictions as Singapore and Papua New Guinea have boldly done. Such a move which could only serve to enhance the quality of its lawyers and the bench is only hindered by the self interest of a wealthy guild of lawyers in breach of Malaysia’s international obligations.

CONCLUSION

The clergy of Malaysia’s Catholic Church enjoys a kindred spirit with it judiciary and its legal profession. Acceptance to the vocation of priesthood is often less on merit than it is on the patronage of Bishops and parish priests who wield more than temporal and spiritual power on their faithful’s unquestioning loyalties to them.

The world body of the Church in its diversity appear to have moved on but not the poor second cousins in Malaysia. Father Lawrence Andrew a Jesuit (an elite of the Catholic Church’s many religious orders) and his Bishop Pakiam may have been taken for a ride by over ambitious lawyers from the Catholic lawyers association who ought to have known better about the issues the Church faced in this unwinnable battle they embarked on.

Fr. Lawrence (not much about Pakiam) according to a BBC reporter who interviewed the man over a year ago is by all accounts and honourable and honest advocate of the Church’s interest in an environment as volatile as Malaysia is on matters of religion, race and culture.

His legal advisors could have advised him to moderate the position of the church to one more closely reflecting its theological and moral position than for them to have allowed the issue to develop into a lawyers picnic complete with media circus and inflammatory remarks upping the ante at each stage to reach such an unfortunate watershed in inter religious relations in Malaysia.

The position of the Church has not been aided in any way by an incompetent and illogical decision by Bee Lian Lau J. It has merely served to further alienate the Church from that sector of the community injured by the Pontiff’s caustic and unwarranted remarks  about their religion being ‘the most evil’ in recent years.

Note: This article is subject to changes as new material on this subject comes to hand

Gopal Raj Kumar

Comments
74 Responses to “BEE LIAN LAU – WHAT WAS SHE THINKING?”
  1. GRK,

    Rushed decision, I would surmise.

    Perhaps the AG Dept could take your points in their appeal, if they have not already done so.

    Thank you
    Freddie

    Like

  2. Capt says:

    GRK,

    Lets just get to know that an unjust judge is not a judge but a transgressor. …. ‘How to Judge the Judges’:

    “The epitome of justice is a fair trial and for the presiding judge to do justice according to law. These are the twin pillars of justice. One would never tire of stressing this point; this is what the rule of law is all about.

    For there to be a fair trial the presiding judge must be fair-minded and he must administer justice according to law. If the judge does not do that, then justice has failed. There will be injustice. The judge must be impartial himself and in his court he must manifest an appearance of impartiality – for justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done.”

    With that definition of justice, the common man can judge the judges. It is so easy to be a judge. All that you need to be one is to be fair-minded yourself and to show by your conduct and behaviour in court that you deal out impartial justice – for justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done. The other attribute of a judge is to administer justice according to law.

    i rest my case…and am no lawyer too yaa !!…just a concerned fellow malaysian like the rest.

    Like

    • grkumar says:

      Look it is not just us but also a number of Catholics and lawyers who do not often see eye to eye with the Malaysian government and their decisions that are suprised at extent of the vandalism of Bee Lian Lua J’s decision.

      It is something that Bishop Pakiam and Father Lawrence may consider a victory for themselves. If properly cuonselled they may in their wisdom see it as something else and for that we are prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt.But it is something of a mystery as to how a judge could so blatantly misread the constitution and the constituional provisions that cover the issues before her. Ignornance, bias, inexperience or incompetence. Worse still a combination of all.

      Thanks for your comments

      Gopal Raj Kumar

      Like

  3. Ampatuan Jr says:

    Its naive on the part of Brother Pakiam of the Herald and by extention Justice Lau to even think that they can get away using the court to further the Christian’s agenda.There are many ways to skin a cat – why choose the hard way?

    Like

  4. anonymous says:

    This is an average Malaysian who knew nothing about laws or constitution and the intepretion based on reading yours and other blogs.

    some blogs commented why jurist made wrong decision by granting Christian rights to use Allah.
    constitution stated Malaysians except Muslim have freedom to believe in any religions, so Allah is rightful to any religions.
    constitution also stated if any cases can cause unrest in the country, it shouldnt be allowed, so Allah by right shouldnt be used.

    so in blogs, you guys commented jurist had made a wrong decision to grant Christian rights to use Allah.
    as it will cause unrest in the country. also in blogs, it mentioned granting Christian rights to use Allah will cause unpeaceful and angriness among Malays.
    by constitution, then it should not allowed christian to use.

    a consideration;
    Why granting Christian the rights to use Allah can cause angriness and unrest in the country?
    and why by not granting Christian the rights to use Allah, the country will be peaceful and harmony?

    Like

  5. ayam percik says:

    It is clear that judge lau bee lan is not efficient in her judgement and work. Therefore she should forgo her post or else she may repeat this kind thing again.

    Like

    • grkumar says:

      Judges like Lau Bee Lan (if thats how her name is correctly spelt) are a manifestation of judicial incompetence in Malaysia. Just think as in the case of another incompetent judge in NH Chan, how many people have been hanged wrongfully in Malaysia by their being on the bench?

      These are civil issues for which the penalty is not that ultimate sanction. Death. We have all got to be vigilant and make our law makers responsible not on the basis of religion or race.

      The attacks on UMNO all of the time by the opposition and by the other non Malay races is a cheap shot at attacking Malays. It has been a pastime in Malaysia for decades. Incompetence does not know race, colour, religion or gender. Bee Lian Lau J and NH Chan followed closely by Gopal Shri Ram are but three examples of what I mean.

      When society is short changed at this level, no amount of flash cars and iPods, flat screens and overseas trips can substitute for the dangers that lurk.

      Keep interested. If it is not your bad luck today, it may well be yours tomorrow. These courts and Malaysia’s lawyers depend on luck and not merit.

      GRK

      Like

  6. Kush says:

    Hi Gopal,

    Saya akan menulis dalam B.M, kerana sudah tiba masanya untuk menegakkan Bahasa Kebangsaaan. Satu hujah yang panjang lebar dan kukuh dari segi pentafsiran perudangan dan perlembagaan.

    Saya dapai komen-komen anda di blog seperti rights2write mendapat reaksi beremosi yang negatif dan dibalas dengan hujah-hujah yang dangkal, mungkin kerana mereka tiada hujah yang kuat seperti saudara.Tapi teruskan memberi hujah anda di sana kerana ramai mereka-mereka yang masih buta dalam isu pokok perkara ini.

    Like

    • grkumar says:

      My dear friend. My bahasa is not very good as I have lived outside Malaysia for decades. I have a brief understanding of what you have conveyed here and thank you for your comments. I apologise for not being able to respond properly to you in Bahasa. I hope you will forgive me.

      Gopal Raj Kumar

      Like

  7. ayam percik says:

    It is clear that judge lau bee lan is not efficient in her judgement and work. Therefore she should forgo her post or else she may repeat this kind of thing again.

    Like

  8. arthansa says:

    Lau Bee Lan or Lau Bee Lian?

    Like

    • grkumar says:

      neither would help her restore her reputation. Better leave the wrong spelling (if thats what it is). Liau is the operative word to her reputation now.

      GRK

      Like

  9. satD says:

    nice post!…linked yours to my latest hope u dont mind..

    Yes Article 3.1 peace and harmony will be key…

    Wonder if the court of appeal needs further “observations” on this matter…..

    lets not go the way of the Maluku’s…

    Did u know that she was specifically requested to sit on the case by Pakiam….wonder why ?

    Like

    • grkumar says:

      Never suggested that she was specifically shopped by Pakiam. Someone either did not like her or she has an ego far greater than her abilities.

      The court of appeal is no panacea for legal woes and incompetence generally. Gopal Shri Ram sings a panagyric for NH Chan a fool’s judge. Gopal Shri Ram sits in the Court of appeal. What does that say about any hope of a just or informed decision?

      GRK

      GRK

      Like

  10. ninitalk says:

    Congratulations grkumar on an excellent argumentation of aspects of Malaysian Constitutional Law and one “learned” Malaysian judge’s judgement!

    If I may I’d like to paste it in my blog ninitalk.wordpress.com

    Being trained in linguistics I see the issue as one involving semantics and the translation of a key religious concept – GOD. The word for the Muslim concept of God (Allah) has been transposed or borrowed to represent the Christian God in the Bahasa Indonesia translation of the Bible.

    Cultural and religious concepts are the hardest to translate and often the most elusive. Many words like “Allah” are culturally loaded and have evolved in the holy books and its teachings among the followers. They are often embellished and reinforced by their sociolinguistic environment and have acquired specialised contextual meanings.

    In the lexicon of a language some words have a direct, referential/ denotative meaning – the most obvious being a name. “Ali” refers to the person of Ali. Others have a referential meaning as well as a connotative/ implied meaning e.g. “pig” refers to the pig (animal) but it can be used to imply the pig’s characteristics such as “gluttony” in “You are a real pig”.

    “Allah” is a culturally loaded concept in Islam both in the language of the Quran and the language of its Malay Muslim adherents. It is imbued with many meanings including the 99 attributes of God familiar to the Muslims.

    To justapose “Allah” in the culturally distinct Christian milieu is to translate what is basically an untranslatable concept – both of the unity in the Muslim understanding of God and the trinity in the Christian conception of God. Isn’t this in itself confusing? What the “learned” judge has done is to confuse the adherents of the two faiths further.

    In translation theory there is the notion of “untranslatability” and when a concept is untranslatable the translator resorts to employing the generic term supported by notes or an explanation.

    Why cause the confusion and now the tension when the generic Malay word for the concept of the universal God “Tuhan” can be used?

    grkumar – I would be very interested to know how a linguistic argumentation can be incorporated into the constitutional one.

    Thank you!

    Like

    • grkumar says:

      You are more than welcome to cut and paste whats written here. Welcome to our world.

      There is much to compliment you on in your comment here. Within what you have raised in your comments are matters the Church ought to have considered before embarking on their crusade on the word Allah.

      The state has no case to answer for the very powers and rights conferred on it in the constitution. Like linguistics, the constitution itself cannot be understood unless one has a background in jurisprudence and constitutional hisstory within the commonwealth (in our case) and the writings of great constitutional and jurisprudential minds from Austen, Bentham, Blackstone to Bork and Posner and even Blackshields.

      Unfortunately we have too many text book lawyers who read to pass exams then go hell for leather in developing a business in an unregulated environment. Continuing Intellectual and professional development are never on their radars. The outcomes are the the mess we are faced with today.

      The devil as they say is often in the detail. And that cannot be understood or understated when one translates language or cultural expressions from one environment with a completely different history and culture to another of a completely different culture with the diversity that Malaysia is. It is a recipe for disaster unless much thought is given to whats being done with all outcomes in mind.

      The Bible itself in the initial Gospels come from Aramic, Greek and Roman to Hebrew, Arabic and so on and so forth. Along the way much may had been lost and much more the subject of interpretation and revision for political expediency by conquerors and colonialists and other despotic opportunists along the way.

      A crude example of how translations can be terribly funny or offensive is the one I use everytime I visit Malaysia to stress the point you make about “untranslatability”. I order an “anging panas” (Hot Dog) from food vendors who look aghast first then laugh at the idiot asking the question.

      I learned this from my legal advisor also from Malaysia and use it just to prove a point. Literal translations in this case on the word of god (we as mere mortals have no right to translate it) are a lesson in disaster.

      Although not an area or topic of dicsussion I am able too comfortable with or can confidently comment on, I think it is one of the mysteries of the ‘tower of Bable’ syndrome we are faced with here. I am glad you have decided to visit and to read.

      GRK

      Like

  11. Naif says:

    Sir,

    This is a brilliant analysis. Your writing is the very reason why I’m studying law right now. Why cant those folks in Malaysian Insider/kini read your article here?

    Your article reminds me of the “statutory interpretation” chapter when I did my A-Levels Law.

    One question though- Why is this judge allowed to preside over this case when its crystal clear she has a vested interested in the matter at hand?

    Like

    • Naifaz there are questions that have been circulating and only today we obtained some of the background to information that we needed to raise some questions about Bee Lian Lau J in this matter.

      Why no one asked the question is perhaps that there was no smoke at first. Now there is a smoking gun and its in her hands.

      Lets hope there is an explanation to all of this which is less sinister and more logical.

      Hoe you do well in your studies. The future belongs to you. What year are you in?

      Gopal Raj Kumar

      Like

  12. eddy says:

    Syabas GRK for writing a wonderful legal essay on the “ALLAH” judgement which a veteran Engineer like me can actually comprehend. I believe many of our Judges are internet savvy and I hope they will be reading your post too.

    I am just wondering how and who actually choose which judge to preside over a case at the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Federal Court , is it the Ketua Hakim Negara or the Court Registrar? Or does it matter as long as a Judge hold true to the duties of their profession.

    Anyway keep on writing to enlighthen us layman on matters of the Law and the Constitution.

    Terima Kasih.

    Like

    • grkumar says:

      Sometimes the courts are run on a roster basis. At other times judges fill in for other judges. In most cases I would have to assume not being a Malaysian (but a former Malaysian living abroad) the court would have had a more ordered way of allocating a matter as sensitive as this to someone with knowledge, experience and no conflict of interest or potentialf or conflicts to preside over it.

      It is at times like this that faith is important for all of the reasons that man in his seemingly vain belief in his infinite wisdom can demonstrate how shallow, infallible, mortal and helpless he can be.

      There are those who believe that an academic orientation is necessarily an education. We see differently here.

      Gopal Raj Kumar

      Like

  13. Mohd Yusof says:

    I being a simple layman really enjoy reading your discussion.
    Keep op the good work!

    Like

    • grkumar says:

      As an equally simple layperson, I enjoy writing it for people like you. All I need is one simple person like you to understand that it is not polarization or hatred that drives me, but a real love of the law and the ability to contribute towards a better understanding of issues through the law.

      Gopal Raj Kumar

      Like

  14. Inatz says:

    Dear Mr. GRKumar

    I only wish that I could post your brilliant arguementations to Mr. Teymoor Nabili of Al-Jazeera on his views via http://blogs.aljazeera.net/asia/2010/01/11/malaysia-still-dodging-issue

    For your info, i am just a simple housewife and mother of five who loves our country and her people very much and feel very sad when bad news about our country being aired all over the world.

    I am not well educated but understand issues through reading articles and blogs. With all sincererity i would like to thank you for sharing all your thoughts and widen my knowledge as if i am taking a free online classes on malaysian history and law…hehe..

    Thank you again..

    Like

    • grkumar says:

      Al Jazeera like many other media outlets are happy to review anything they think is news worthy. I don’t watch it much although I must admit that it has a broader spectrum of news with a deeper insight than CNN and the others.

      Being a mother of five cannot be a simple persons task. It requires five time the strength and intellect of an ordinary person and no university can teach you how to cope with such situations.

      I am thankful for your comments. All the best with your studies. Its the best time in life to study the subjects you are studying. Maturity has its rewards. I wish you all the best in all your endevours. Keep the faith and keep reading.

      GRK

      Like

  15. yusri says:

    Dear GRK,

    I’ve never been interested in giving comment on any articles posted in any blogs. But went I read yours it gives me the urge of doing so.
    Your article was so unbias, it shows trully that you do for justice.
    Welldone my friend…..cause your show to the people what is it about to be a real MALAYSIAN!!!!
    Again WELLDONE……..

    Like

  16. AlhamNAsir says:

    Why did the Church push for “Allah” to denote God? Its plain obvious ….. missionary purpose, to confuse the lesser faith Muslims an non english speaking natives. Christians should ask why the Vatican did not condone such move.

    I wonder why some Malaysians (on the other side, in particular) can’t appreciate an unbiased, facts supported arguments like yours . I noticed your articles won’t be mentioned in either Msia Today or Msian Insider. Nevermind, the well informed citizens will flood this blog for an honest insights.

    I think its that Hate Is Blinding.

    Thanks a bunch, sir.

    AlhamNasir

    Like

    • grkumar says:

      Nasir

      Thank you for your comments. Interesting point you raise. Why did the Vatican not condone the actions of the Malaysian Catholic Church in this matter. It is not that the “other side” is not interested or does not want to play ball. They have been vociferous indeed in their responses. I have refused to indulge them for reasons that none of the so called “Catholics” or “pro Freedom of expression” posters who have responded in large numbers have bothered to be civil or to contain their “anger”.

      Invectives like the F word are not welcome on a blog that seeks to discuss issues critical to good relations and debate. It poisons the well. We welcome different and divergent points of view but not filth and very very “un Christian, un civilised” language and villification.

      Gopal Raj Kumar

      Like

  17. Rahmat Daud says:

    Dear Mr. GRK

    I am amazed on the facts you have laid down, especially on the basic judicial requirement, a written judgment that have yet been delivered. Before reading this article of yours, although I’m Muslim, I don’t take side. But now, I definitely do not agree on the court’s permission to the Catholic Herald, to use of the word Allah. Now I understand why the Malaysian Government have made the decision of disallowing it, in the first place.
    I have never miss your posting, since June ’09 and I notice that you occasionally comment on Che Det.

    Whatever your faith, May Allah blessed you Sir.
    Thank you.

    Like

    • The operative word in your coment is basic. They failed to apply some of the most basic principles in comming to their judgement. This applies to bothe the Churches and the judge.

      BTW I use the term judgement because it is actually a decision following a review. The outcomes have the same effect.

      Thank you for your comment ,

      GRK

      Like

  18. glassman says:

    I first found this in ninitalk, I thought it was hers/his, I guess god send me here to find its you who wrote the piece🙂 and to thank you

    Like

    • grkumar says:

      Nini talk is the home of a noble and beautifuyll mind. The pictures, the words and the pleasantries say it all for her and the person she is.

      In here you will find none of the bile and the vitriol you will find here on GRK. But on occassion we have all got to take a stand. I have taken mine in the way I best am able to, she has too in the way she is able to best.

      You by sending in your message have in doing so also taken your stand. Thank you and keep reading.

      GRK

      Like

  19. waxwings says:

    What was she thinking? Oh, she was dispensing her learned judgment in accordance with our Constitution.

    You fellas got a problem with that? 😉

    East Malaysian Christians have been using the word ‘Allah’ together with their Borneo & Indonesian brethren since many hundreds of years. All of a sudden some fellow and his cohorts decide to make a mountain from a molehill in 1986 by banning the word from Christian Malay usage, claiming it will confuse Muslims.

    So now we have ‘Semenanjung’ people trying to diktat across the Sea to the East Malaysians on how to worship according to their terms, trying to convince why the EM’s should comply just because its a population numbers game. Up to the point where a famous historical Malayan scholar gets to be a scapegoat for this issue.

    Yes, because the Malay Moslems will all of a sudden get ‘confused’ because of a word. Such fragile faith they must have, no?

    Like

    • grkumar says:

      The constitution does not in the first instance provide for any guarantees for religious worship or practice in Malaysia (even if you wish to draw the distingtion between east and west Malaysia it is Malaysia). It provides a limited right which is more of a license. The governments at state and federal levels through the king and the various sultans to modulate the practice of any other religion including Islam where the practice of that religion is likeely to harm or threten peace and harmony.

      The use of the word Allah by the Catholic Herald is unsettling to many Muslims who constitute the majority in Malaysia. Have you got a problem with that?. The continued and unecessary advancement o the issue by the Catholic church is seen by the state as being a threat to peace and harmony. And regardless of who added pyrotechnics to the equation proved that point. Or are you blind a Christian fanatic?

      The fact that Malays of the eastern Malaysian states used the word 300 years ago is evidence (irrefutable evidence) of the prozelytising characteristic of Christianity which is no longer welcome in a place like Malaysia. The remaining numbers can remain, but to try to expand these to the vulnerable is not the Vatcians prerogative or privilege. It is the privilege of the majority and their do not subscribe to the Vatican.

      Show me just one part of the constitution that this particular maverick judge relied on and complied with in her decision. Or show me evidence of her independence at the bench, of her judgement, particularly in failing to disclose her Christian commitments and her conflict with the arguments against the use of the word Allah and we will collectively withdraw our article. Additionally I ask where the written component of her decision can be found.

      In the absence of which it would be appropriate we thing for the Church and its supporters withdraw unequivocally from this inflamatory crusade of theirs.

      Gopal Raj Kumar

      Like

      • waxwings says:

        “”The constitution does not in the first instance provide for any guarantees for religious worship or practice in Malaysia (even if you wish to draw the distingtion between east and west Malaysia it is Malaysia). It provides a limited right which is more of a license.””

        Excerpts from the Perlembagaan Malaysia:

        PART I – THE STATES, RELIGION AND LAW OF THE FEDERATION

        Article 3

        1. Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.

        2. In every State other than States not having a Ruler the position of the Ruler as the Head of the religion of Islam in his State in the manner and to the extent acknowledged and declared by the Constitution, all rights, privileges, prerogatives and powers enjoyed by him as Head of that religion, are unaffected and unimpaired; but in any acts, observance or ceremonies with respect to which the Conference of Rulers has agreed that they should extend to the Federation as a whole each of the other Rulers shall in his capacity of Head of the religion of Islam authorize the Yang di-pertuan Agong to represent him.

        3. The Constitution of the States of Malacca, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak shall each make provision for conferring on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall be Head of the religion of Islam in that State.

        4. Nothing in this Article derogates from any other provision of this Constitution.

        5. Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall be the Head of the religion of Islam in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan; and for this purpose Parliament may by law make provisions for regulating Islamic religious affairs and for constituting a Council to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in matters relating to the religion of Islam.

        Article 11

        1. Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and, subject to Clause (4), to propagate it.
        2. No person shall be compelled to pay any tax the proceeds of which are specially allocated in whole or in part for the purposes of a religion other than his own.
        3. Every religious group has the right –
        * (a) to manage its own religious affairs;
        * (b) to establish and maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes; and
        * (c) to acquire and own property and hold and administer it in accordance with law.
        4. State law and in respect of the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan, federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.
        5. This Article does not authorize any act contrary to any general law relating to public order, public health or morality.

        So there you have it, both Article 3(1), and Article 11 specifically guarantees the RIGHT for nonMuslim Malaysians to practice their faith. It is NOT a license, something which is renewed periodically or can be revoked unilaterally. Also, nowhere is it stated Government or Heads Of State can control matters in non-Islamic religions, aside from restricting preaching to Muslims.

        In this issue the word ‘Allah’ is used for literature & worship amongst Bahasa speaking Christians, as what was going on earlier around Malaysia this Sunday morning. The government or Islamic authorities has no jurisdiction within this matter.

        Now some state Islamic bureaus have just dictatated to Malay-speaking Christians they cannot use Malay words of Arabic-origin… hmmph… as if they have legal jurisdiction. The next thing you know, they may ban use of Malay altogether by Malay-speaking native Christians.

        Source:
        http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/bahasa/49650-jais-juga-larang-bukan-islam-guna-25-kalimah

        Speaking of “prozelytising characteristic”, you do know that all religions and a majority of its followers have some aspect of converting non followers? How do you think Islam itself came to southeast Asia? Its not as if the Hindu/Buddhist/animist inhabitants suddenly woke up and decide to become Muslim one day. nope, its through the efforts of Muslim preachers & clerics coming over from India & Arabia with the spice trade.

        Anyho, the text of the judge’s decision has just been released… something for you to read through this evening, and rebut if you see fit…

        http://themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/malaysia/49845-four-reasons-for-controversial-allah-ruling

        “”And if they admit to having used it for centuries (which is a load of cods wallop) in east Malaysia, it certainly was not for the purpose of fellingg timber, it was for conversions and that ought to stop. In fact it ought to have stopped on 31 August 1957!!””

        Ahem, you do know that Sabah & Sarawak joined on Sept16 1963, do you? 😉

        Been too long in Australia, perhaps?

        Like

      • grkumar says:

        Interesting. If you read the execerpts from the constitution you have included in your posting you will find exactly what it is that I have described in the article on Bee Lian Lua’s flawed judgement. Perhaps I ought to be a bit more biblical with you. “There is none more blind than those who will not see”.

        You read literally without connecting each of the qualificaitons in each of Article 11 and Article 3 of the constitution to discover what the relevant article are relaly saying. Find me where it says guarantees freedom of religion or the right to prozelytise regardless of what went on in history. It is the here and now that the woman and you ought to consider. Perhaps you ought to read the article at least twice again to see whyt you have missed in your rabid anger on this issue.

        Putting that aside ity begs the question, how does a Singpaore based anti Malaysian government web publication manage to obtain Bee Lian Lua’s judgement when it was not available to the parties and other stake holders in the federation immediately upon judgement? making corrections and amendments to an egregious document after the fact and the avalanche of condemnation for her failure to provide a written judgement or decision on that date has perhaps enlightned her to seek a better written judgement than her oral fiasco? not that it will make any difference.

        Kindly read the article. Maybe living in Austrlaia is beneficial to common sense. Read read. There is a method to reading legal documents. You clearly have not reached that stage yet.

        GRK

        Like

      • waxwings says:

        “There is none more blind than those who will not see”.

        Hahah, the irony… which brings us to…

        “Find me where it says guarantees freedom of religion or the right to prozelytise regardless of what went on in history.”

        I suppose you deliberately/accidentally (tandakan yang berkenaan) missed Article 3(1) and Article 11(1)? As I wrote, these guarantees rights of non Muslim Malaysians to follow their religion free from Government interference. Now, I did not mention about the right to preach to Muslims… can you kindly point out where I said that?

        “Putting that aside ity begs the question, how does a Singpaore based anti Malaysian government web publication manage to obtain Bee Lian Lua’s judgement when it was not available to the parties and other stake holders in the federation immediately upon judgement? making corrections and amendments to an egregious document after the fact and the avalanche of condemnation for her failure to provide a written judgement or decision on that date has perhaps enlightned her to seek a better written judgement than her oral fiasco? not that it will make any difference.”

        Now now, you have to prove the judge and/or the fellow conspirators have altered the written judgement post-court, to become blatantly contradictory to the stenographer’s transcripts & other printed records available to all parties of such a high profile case. Or, you can always pitch the conspiracy theory the stenographer, court reporter, record keepers.. and of course… the Judge, defendants and plaintiffs, are all working in hand with the notsosecret cabal of Opus Dei which is beholden to the Vatican (Dan Brown can be cited as a source). Should you do that in your next posting, credit to me… thanks in advance.

        And in case you didn’t read the article, the “Singpaore based anti Malaysian government” news portal got the written judgement from a website where it was posted. You should ask them…

        Like

      • grkumar says:

        I am under no obligation to pander to you in any way. Take it or leave it. Your interpretations of Article 3 and 11 are yours to enjoy if it makes you happy. I do not have to prove anything to you either. It is up to you to satisfy yourself that the propositions I put forward either have merit or not.

        Indugences you seek are for the lazy and the incompetent. Good luck with your search for self satisfaction.

        GRK

        Like

  20. glassman says:

    I made the mistake of writing some comments at the end of one of your older postings.🙂 and here I am. May I plagiat/copy part or all of your post into my blog. I could’nt write it better myself.😛

    Like

  21. orangair says:

    GRK

    I doubt the Muslims’ faith is fragile like some wrote. That is not the issue and the Muslims will not be confused either.

    The question is why not just use the word Tuhan in the translation. If the Christians in Sabah and Sarawak have been using the word “Allah” all along, it’s time to correct them to use “Tuhan” or just go with Jesus like most Christians worldwide do. If they prefer Allah, then give them the Qur’an.

    Subjecting the most important pillar of the Muslim faith to common law makes little sense. This is not a win or lose game. It is the faith of the Malaysian majority we are talking about. They have a right to be mad.

    The Herald may just save the day. Go back to the court and drop it. I’m sure the Muslims may forget the issue. Some may even forgive.

    Like

  22. Logic would assume that your comments are correct and reflective of an appropriate way to go about this situation.

    As we had earlier argued in “Allah what in God’s name…..” why is the Church so bent on the use of a word theys so clearly know is a pillar of Islam (at least in the Malay Muslim context) which they should not and have no moral or legal authority to shake?

    There is no prescription in the Cannons of the Catholic faith to use the local language where the bible or prayers are concerned.

    It ws Latin for centuries. If it is to be Bahasa then why not th entire liturgy? why the word Allah alone?

    And if they admit to having used it for centuries (which is a load of cods wallop) in east Malaysia, it certainly was not for the purpose of fellingg timber, it was for conversions and that ought to stop. In fact it ought to have stopped on 31 August 1957!!

    The opportunity to build bridges instead of burning them has arisen now. The Catholics can come forward in private if necessary and simply say, we have erred not knowing the depth of feeling within your community over this issue. We will undertake not to in future take such action without prior consultations with you… let bygones be bygones…. this was done in good faith and in God’s name…..” It will end.

    But no, this is part and parcel of a wider campaign to dislodge the BN. I personally do not have much time for the BN the way they have allowed things to get out of hand. But that does not mean the fundamental rights of the majority have to be trampled on in such an insensitive way. But thats my opinion.

    GRK

    Like

  23. orangair says:

    GRK man

    Precisely the point.
    Glad you share the sentiment.
    Why BN let the case be judge ? This I find silly of the BN. We know there must be unseen hands behind this. They have been trying hard to dislodge the BN, But why ? This has been going on (anti Mahathir that has become anti-everything about BN.. Umno specifically) more than a decade. I wish that the citizens of this good country realize not too late that what we enjoy today, we won’t get in many parts of the world. We need to keep it, not shake it down.

    We have almost always been making comparisons of this great country of ours to western democracies. Please once in a while compare ourselves with China or India. We are really not too bad at all. Our democracy mould must be correct and working as formulated by Tunku, Cheng Lock and Sambanthan, else we would have been long doomed.

    Whether or not one realizes, moderate Islam has managed to keep this country peaceful. So each one of us please take one minute, empty our minds and look deep in ourselves and SINCERELY thank our Gods; be the God Allah, Christ, or any other.

    Ultimately what can this unseen hands give back to us if really we decide to hand them the power ? Can they even give us another 22 years of peace ? What has been observed is that one year of relative peace also is quite a struggle. I cannot help but thinking this direction. I don’t think this is an illusion. It is too real already. True I too don’t have much time for the BN way. The change they advocate is coming at snail’s pace. They got to be in touch with the people. No one esle but Tun Razak must be made their reference for them to start to succeed.

    Like

  24. taufeq says:

    She is the judge that cause riot and tension in malaysia. Is it worth for the cause of 1 person and creates instability, hatred and diversification in malaysia?
    She also rule in the context of the word “keling” be used in bahasa Malaysia. She made that ruling and being insensitive towards the Indians and now repaetedly doing so by being insensitive towards the Muslims.
    And the Muslims is not right by burning the churches. The Christians should not be treated that way because its the judge that make that ruling.
    The question is to all of us…. is she fit to be a judge… you judge it yourself! Power is to the peole… not to 1 person who is called a judge.

    Like

    • grkumar says:

      You make a very interesting point. She has missed the point of the anger and the threat to peace and harmony. She is out of her depth on this issue. The word Nigger is part of the American Lexicon but not used for what it can do. In the same way the word Keling may be in the Malay Lexicon but cannot be legitimsed in its wider use for the danger of the damage it will do. The same can be applied o the word Allah (Which is a beautiful word as opposed to the other two). Its not the point what the word means but what it conveys to different people.

      For a start she ought to have said if she was just, that the whole Christian Litugry be read and written in Bahasa. That way the Christians will not feel like outsiders they have made thsmelves to be all these years owing their loyalty to Rome. But they won’t because they despise Bahasa Melayu language.

      GRK

      Like

  25. YKL says:

    GRK,

    Since your first savo on Judge Lau was without reading the written judgement, do you have any thing to add , correct or retract what you had written earlier. Would also like to hear your response to the last reply by waxwing of Jan 18.

    Like

    • grkumar says:

      Nothing beneficial in the interests of justice or simply just can come out of a judgement that conceals the sentient mind behind it. Her first duty to disclose her conflicts taints even the best arguments she could put forward in this regard.

      Following from that, her inclusion into her judgement material that is alien to the core issues and her drawing into the judgement matters that were pleaded by neither side, irrelevant to the issues being agitated by both sides only serves to reinforce the general thrust of the article on her judgement here.

      It would be interesting to see how the appeal against her judgement unfolds. To dissect the written judgement would be unproductive unless it is for a law jornal which someone else is currently doing anyway. I will refrain from any immediate comment although a short piece on her judgement is likely.

      GRK

      Like

  26. rais says:

    waxwing…

    you did a great job ‘cut and paste’ the Article 11… but do read pt 5 carefully.

    perhaps, you should read this report by Dr. Louis Turk… his research about how the word ‘Allah’ came about in the translated versions… and his efforts to remedy this ‘blunder’. Mind you, he is protecting his faith too.

    http://www.biblefortoday.org/PDF/translate.pdf

    GRK: I know you’ve mentioned that you are not malay, but you do put some, if not all, malays (or ‘modern-malays’) to shame with your thoughts and insights with regards to malay issues.

    cheers
    Ü

    Like

    • grkumar says:

      There is a danger in reading about and raising issues involving the history of the use of the word Allah. The Herald vs Ag of Malaysia is not about the historic or the constitutional rights to use the word. It is about the rights of the state which is sovereign to curtail, to prohibit and to control any activity be it religious, social, economic or political if it threatens stability, peace or harmony (another set of words for the same thing).

      If the state did not have those powers, then its sovereignity comes into question.

      I read and commented on “Constitutional Lawyer” Tommy Thomas’s embarassing effort to lend a pseudo liberal cover to his poor understanding of this debate and the issues that are at the heart of it as published in the Nutgraph where I comment regularly. It is also a publication where they as regularly censor my contributions as it does not fit in with their liberal egalitarian democratic view of the world it would seem.

      This issue is about the Constitution and sovereignity. I have pointed out relevantly why there is no such thing as unconditional freedom to practice religion in Malaysia. And I add the point missed by many including Thomas that such rights and guarantees do not exist in the Malaysian constitution or those of the US, Britain or Australia either.

      Case in point:
      a) In Germany Scientology inspite of the very high profile of its adherents (Tom Curise, John Travolta Media Baron Jamie Packer ….) is outlawed as a religion or and as an organization. It is a recognised religion elsewhere. Yet Germany’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion and its practice or worship.

      b) the Mormons (of which church Howard Hughes late billionaire was a member and worshipper) practice polygamy in contravention of US laws. Polygamy though is not against the teachings of their prophets which their churches condone. However they are arrested, tried and where necessary jailed for breaches of these US laws. The US has a bill of rights unlike Malaysia which does not. Although both guarantee freedom of worship and religion as well.

      c) The headquarters and church of the Branch Davidan Sect of Christianity was set ablaze with military issue flame throwers, a fleet of armoured personal carriers equipped with rapid fire high calibre machine guns, and an army of heavily armed FBI and ATF Bureau officers not very long ago.

      In the compound of the Church was a large number of women, children, men and aged people all burned to death by the attack. They were a recognized Church and religion in the US till that day. They fired on visiting FBI officers who they believed were unlawfully entering their premises.
      Note: Carrying and operating fire arms in the US is a constitutional right. It is a right Guaranteed by their constitution. Yet their subjects, religious organizations and Churches are still subject to control and the sovereignity of the state over their rights.

      d) Till this very day Churches in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and other southern states, frequented by Afro Americans are set ablaze. No Muslims have yet been tried for these arson attacks. Good White liberal Christians have. That includes the hooded brethren of the honouraable soceity of the Ku Klux Klan.

      d) The Catholic Church in China is divided into the state controlled Catholic Church and the Vatican controlled Catholic Church. They have issues similar in character to that faced by the government and the Herald in Malaysia. The Chinese government as a sovereign state reigns supreme in the exercise of its rights over the Church.

      The point I make here is that in a secular democracy that Malaysia is, like other nations who proclaim the same secularism as a policy, the government has the right, the duty and the obligaiton to force compliance on issues that threaten stability as it has done in this case.

      The judge Bee Lian Lau failed to consider the facts and issues at the core of this problem. Instead she unlawfully and improperly expanded and widened the issues in contention favouring one group against the other. Issues not pleaded at the primary court were intorduced by her ostensibly to reinforce or to adorn her otherwise feeble and ‘off the point’ arguments to justify her judgement.

      More embarassingly she too like many Malaysian lawyers believe erroneously that the Constitution guarantees religious freedoms and take that fiction to be the right to do and act as they please when they please. In other words without restrictions.

      As for the “modern Malays” they simply reinforce Lee Kuan Yews and the British views of “saperti kera dapat bunga” they do not know what to do with their freedoms and are ashamed of their heritage; What can one do? let them find their happiness at the end of the leash of a Chinese master like in Singapore.

      For the record I am of Indian origin. But that ought not to be an issue. The truth remains the truth regardless of who speaks it and for whatever reasons they do.

      Thank you for your resopnse

      GRK

      Like

  27. rais says:

    Dear GRK,

    What is the danger in reading about the issues involving its history? I believe that man is qualified. No?

    My respect for the ways you explained about the Constitution and sovereignty issues.

    And I don’t mean to be, or sounded, racist when I mentioned about you and the ‘modern-malay’. I am at the leash of that master, by the way. The way I see it, it is not just about what one is, but about what one is left with. Are the ‘modern-malays’ going to throw or give that sovereignty away? Back home, will my masters give theirs away?

    I bet you they will say, “no way, jose!”.

    cheers GRK
    Ü

    PS. Since you’ve mentioned the danger of reading the history issues, I have written to Dr Louis Turk with regards to the validity of his report. Fyi, he has replied but not pertaining to the issues yet.

    Like

  28. Singazine says:

    Your site has been added to our bloglist. All articles of relevance will be linked in our ‘Blogger Selections’. Highly insightful stuff. Glad of the recommendation. Thanks Gopal.

    Like

  29. ICE says:

    What makes you think this is a controversial decision? Just because the decision was handed down in a week that saw the culmination of tensions rise to boil with the fire bombing of Churches in peninsula Malaysia? Childish!

    How can you equate LB Lian to NH Chan? Who are you to compare?

    Waxwing is right when he pointed ” you deliberately, and/or accidentally missed Article 3(1) and Article 11(1)? Means you only want to highlight the part that suits you, not the whole piece?

    You were happy when commentators praise you, but become emotional when someone disagree with you, why?

    I read your article above and all the comments, your findings are lopsided, you cannot narrow your mind neutrally, remember you once agreed to my question that you are corrupt in another episode?

    You have a very poor understanding of natural justice, thus not qualified to judge another person of equal standing, be it in law or any other matter.

    Remember, findings are not important what counts is the search…you have failed in your search. Keep searching….

    Like

    • grkumar says:

      The constitution and the so called rights to frreedom of worship or religion is not confined to Article 3(1) alone or to Article 11 alone. Thats why the judgement is flawed. it is something I am not prepared to continue to indulge fools like you continually seeking attention for your failed arguments. Read the topic more thoroughly.

      Natural justice has little to do with whats before the courts on this particular topic. Natural justice is part of the process and not the substantive law here. You are probably a Malaysian lawyer or a spoor student of the subject. In either case I rest my case as far as you are concerned.

      Go read

      GRK

      Like

  30. TSwain says:

    Your site was extremely interesting, especially since I was searching for thoughts on this subject last Thursday.

    Like

  31. mekyam says:

    grk,

    your latest entry is password protected. what gives?

    Like

  32. pakmat says:

    ..hoped in from Freddie Kevin, (thank you, Freddie)..I was born a Muslim..and Islam will always be my religion..I was taught and I believed that there is no god except Allah..and Allah is the One God, for there is none, other then Him..now if others would like to use the terminology Allah, in the context that He is the One God and there is none other than Him, I do not see any reason why I should object..

    Like

    • grkumar says:

      You have raised a very valid and a very interesting point here on this issue. True there is nothing wrong if all things on this particular issue were equal. There is though a perception that the Christians are proselytizing to the Malays and Muslims. Lina Joy brought that to focus.

      The Malays on the other hand constitute the majority and only Islam is officially the religion of Malaysia protected by Malaysia’s rulers and its constitution. So far so good.

      Where the use of the word in a rather sinister exercise by a people who otherwise eschew all thats Islam and Malay and whose leader the Pope recently described Islam as an Evil and an Evil religion, it is not unreasonable for the adherents of Islam to then see this use of the word Allah without any of the other attendant language that usually goes with it as being sinister and an incursion into their turf.

      Let me draw an analogy for you to consider so that the Christians (the Catholics themselves) may understand the issue better. There is an article called “Al Islam and Catholic outrage” which is on our blog. In it the writer describes the outrage (feigned or otherwise) felt by Catholics when two Malay Muslim journalists in search of the mysteries of Catholic rituals went to a Church pretending to be Catholics and received holy communion (the wafer symbolic bread that is believed by Catholics to be the body of Christ in that ritual).

      They photographed it and wrote about it. They were called spies, various blogs slandered Malays and Muslims blaming UMNO (the ususal cowardly way of racial villification by Malaysia’s so called liberals) and carried a torrent of abuse against not the two journalists (whose names were seldom mentioned) but against their religion and race.

      Yet if you read the new testament on the holy communion, you find that Christ said at the last supper (from where the ritual originates) “take this all of you and eat of it. This is my body which will be given up for you and all mankind so that sins may be forgiven… do this in memory of me”. Nowhere does it say, that Christ said, “Take this all of you Catholics and eat of it……”.

      The point I make is this. The Catholics have the right to abuse Muslims and be outraged about a seminal piece of work where the facts were distorted and exaggerated for effect. Two Malay Muslims broke the long standing wall of ignorance and mystery and did something they could now explain to their people. Instead of being a moment for celebration, It was considered an outrage and an attack on the Catholic religion. SO why should the entire Muslim world (not Malaysian Muslims alone) feel outraged at the use of the word Allah? WHy should all right thinking people not be outraged that Catholics in fact exclude them from participation in what was meant to be an universal (the word Catholic means universal) ritual initiated by Christ who was a Jew and not a Roman or Catholic? did he not belong to us all?

      You may wish to read the full text of the Al Islam issue on our blog. I hope you get the gist of my explanation long wided thoug it is sometimes. More important I hope it explains better the hurt and the irritation felt by many.

      Thanks for participating.

      GRK

      Like

  33. ICE says:

    GRK, careful with your words, only a fool calls his opponent a fool …. a foolish statement to fool around makes no fool smarter….

    Like

    • grkumar says:

      I have never referred to myself nor have I considered myself nor my writers to be anything greater than the people we write to, write about and write for. We write for them, about them and to them. On occassion we call a spade a spade. Responding to a comment where we called someone a fool is one of those rare occassions we decided we would call a respondent a fool.

      Thats far better than the Nutgraph or the Malaysian Insider or Lim Kit SIang’s blog where they don’t even have the courage to insult you or call you a fool. They simply excise you and your comments from their blogs or censor your letters where it scars the daylights out of them or where you have a contrarian opinion not aligned with their political biases. The Nutgraph and the Insider are not politically neutral. They are anti Malay, anti Muslim and anti government. I accept the anti government. Not the others.

      These are the very same people who write about freedoms of speech, expression and religion which they claim govenment (UMNO Malays) deny the populace. It does not take much to see how shallow their claims are. They run the moment the truth hits the fan. They chop, cut and paste and disort what you write if it does not agree with their view of the world.

      But I for one will agree they are politically correct. They have all of the politically correct sections (Women’s rights, Orang Asli, Malay apologists, Islamic revisionists, Bad lawyers who are staff writers and so on and so forth. Oh yes for good measure the Malaysian Bar as their guests in an unassailable position. No criticisms however valid allowed).

      So to call one a fool should not warrant such a response as yours is. We actually get called worse than that. I personally have had my mothers chastity questioned more than once by ‘educated and enlightened “freedom fighters”).

      Nuff said.

      GRK

      Like

  34. ICE says:

    “(4) State law and in respect of the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan, federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.”

    It is very clearly stated that the State or Federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons (professing the religion of Islam.)

    Means that it only have the right to restrict person professing Islam only and not other religion, as such the govt has no business in banning the word Allah being used by other religions and judge LB Lian’s judgment cannot be considered flawed.

    Therefore LB Lian decision is neither controversial nor flawed. The Home Ministry’s decision to ban the word is in bad light,bad faith, mala fide, just to create uneasiness and tension among the various races in the country for political mileage.

    “Even if the Constitution in this Article 11 clause (1) appears to confer that right (in clause (1) of Article 11) on the Catholic Church, that right in clause (1) of Article is qualified, restricted or subject to operation of the provisions of Article 11 clause (4).”

    This clause is limited to those persons professing the religion of Islam only.

    Like

    • grkumar says:

      if it makes you happy and you are convinced in your argumentwe do not have a problem with that. We beg to differ though and for good reason too.

      GRK

      Like

  35. ICE says:

    “if it makes you happy and you are convinced in your argument�we do not have a problem with that. We beg to differ though and for good reason too.”

    It’s ok if it differs but you have not mentioned anything about the good reasons, why? Means you can’t understand simple English. Only know how to confuse with bombastic legal phrases…

    Like

  36. whoislaubeelian says:

    A historical perspective will always help in this Catholic Christians evil ways.
    The liberal Malays should always look back at history to know the danger of Catholicsm. Even Brad Pitt has spoken about it. Elton john or that shortie guy who became a scientologist.
    It was Constantine who saw the power of the pope over the common people to cause him to decide to have the pope legitimise his rule. The evil Constantine who killed his own son and wife! Before this the Romans fed the Christians to the lions in the stadiums. The effect of European falling under Catholic Christianity was the reasons for the expnasionism of the Catholic Queens to America, Africa, India. Columbus was the darling of Catholic Spanish Queen who went and invaded the Americas and brought back the natives as slaves to Europe. Then the PORTUGUESE CATHOLIC CHRISTIAN QUEEN sent Alburqueque to Melaka to attack and killed the Malays! So it was the Catholics who caused colonialism and killings by the Europeans on other people of the world.

    When the people of Europe could no longer tolerate the cruelty of the Catholics papal through their inhumane Spanish Inquisition and monarchs, colonialism faded. They cut off the head of the monarchies in France. In Russia they killed the monarchies. Karl Marx pointed out that Catholicsm is just opiate for the masses. They suddenly saw that the King was naked figuratively. The priests are just human sodomising altar boys etc..in cases which are still being discovered today.
    So Malaysians should be aware of the historical significance of the evil of Catholicsm. The arrogance of chinese jesuit Andrew appointed by the vatican and Pakiam in going against the Agung is typical Catholics evil. So the fight against Catholics is a fight against colonialism that have to the responsibilities of all citizens.

    Like

    • grkumar says:

      Thank you for your contribution to the debate on the use of the word “Allah” by the Catholic church in Malaysia. Whilst some of the points you raise here about the Catholic church in its historical context is relevant, remember this: Any religion that is left to operate outside of the law will become a totalitarian state evenutally.

      BTW Lawrence Andrew the Jesuit is not Chinese. Bee Lian Lau is. Whats more notable in this entire matter is the silence of the Chinese Christians. They constitute an significant number in the powerful churches (Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, Church of England, Protestants, Assemblies of God) in Malaysia.

      In that number we include a number parliamentarians and high powered businessmen. Some of Malaysia’s richest and most powerful. Yet when it comes to putting their head up in the name of their God and theology to be counted, only Bee Lian Lau obliged. Evidence shows they were very active behind the scenes but controlled. Discretion is the better part of valour.

      GRK

      Like

  37. whoislaubeelian says:

    Glad to be of some light. History, as we have all these while been taught, have been very European biased. Thanks to the fact that they invented the printers first so they learnt to write and propagate their propaganda.

    The cause for the cruel and brutal way the Europeans have went out and claimed the bounties of the world, killing the Pocahontas in Americas, Indians in India, Malays in Indonesia and Malaysia, slaves from Africa have rarely been examined and discussed. But the book The Dogs of God makes some interesting connection between European cruelty and self centredness, colonialism with Catholics dogma.

    What is sad is that while the Europeans have came to their senses and dismissed Christianity as something mediaeval, the dangerous fundamental version has been perpetuated in less knowledgeable societies such as the tribes in Borneo or Africa. Naturally the less scientific the society, the easier it is for them to believe the gospel as truth. If unchecked the clash of civilisation will move to Asia.

    Like

  38. lawstudent says:

    I will say all the points you got is flawed as you didn’t read the full judgment from the judge before writing this ungrounded yet misleading article. By the way from the way you address the judiciary body here even a blind can tell that you are biased.

    Like

    • grkumar says:

      If this comment of yours is to be taken seriously and if it is indeed the case you are a law student as your pen name suggests, I rest my case. Bee Lian Lau is probably from the same school of law that produces candidates of your calibre much like herself. If you are serious about a dialogue in disagreement about our comments on her judgment then present your points in a more articulate and erudite manner. We are happy to debate anyone on the issues.

      Like

  39. grkumar says:

    Terimah Kasih.

    GRK

    Like

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