,The previous Pakatan Harapan cabinet had wanted an out-of-court settlement in the recent "Allah" case but Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who was also the home minister at the time, preferred the court to decide.This is according to former works minister Baru Bian, who revealed this was why the case was postponed many times.He explained that then Council of Eminent Persons chairperson Daim Zainuddin had met with the lawyers of Jill Ireland and Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) Sabah, both of which have cases in the court with regard to the word "Allah"."The lawyers had indicated to the senior federal counsel representing the federal government that they were prepared to settle the matter outside of court or to work on an administrative resolution of these two cases," he said.Baru said the cabinet in mid-2019 agreed for the "Allah" issues to be settled out of court and mandated Daim to resolve the issue, but the matter was not officially communicated to him.The Selangau MP said he then raised the issue on Nov 8, 2019, and a special committee was later formed comprising himself, Muhyiddin, Penampang MP Darell Leiking, the late Batu Sapi MP Liew Vui Keong and Parit Buntar MP Mujahid Yusof Rawa.Baru said the proposed solution was to amend the 1986 administrative directive which banned non-Muslims from using the word "Allah" to state that it can be used in Christian publications unconditionally in East Malaysia.As for Peninsular Malaysia, he said the proposal was to ensure that Christian publications using the word should carry a "Christian publication" stamp."These proposals were based on the 2010 10-point solution which acknowledged the different circumstances in the Borneo states and the Malayan states."I was informed by the lawyer for Jill Ireland and SIB Sabah that the Attorney-General's Chambers senior federal counsel were amenable to the proposal but had to get the approval of the Home Ministry, then headed by the present prime minister."The minister disagreed with the said proposal and decided to let the court decide," he said.Most logical approachBaru added that the special committee on the issue had its first meeting at the end of November 2019 but Muhyiddin was unable to attend.He said other proposals included adding a cross on top of the word "Allah" when printing in Christian publication but added that was not acceptable as the 10-point solution was the most logical approach.Prime Minister Muhyiddin YassinAmid the negotiations, Baru said it was proposed that in the interim, there would be a moratorium on enforcing the 1986 administrative order.In exchange, the two judicial reviews relating to the "Allah" court cases will be withdrawn."Before the special committee of ministers and/or cabinet could make a final decision, the Harapan government collapsed at the end of February 2020."The matter was hence out of our hands and was left to be dealt with by the Home Ministry under the current (Perikatan Nasional) government."Plainly, no resolution was arrived at and the High Court was obliged to hand down its decision," he said.The Kuala Lumpur High Court handed down its decision on March 10 in the Jill Ireland case, declaring the 1986 administrative order that banned non-Muslims from using the word "Allah" to be invalid.It also affirmed the right of East Malaysian Christians to used the word "Allah".Such cases have been highly divisive as some conservative in West Malaysia view the use of the word "Allah" as a conspiracy to confuse and convert Muslims.The East Malaysian Christian community maintained that they have used the word "Allah" in their prayers for hundreds of years.A similar case brought by SIB Sabah is also resuming in court, with case management fixed for next week.Baru said he made the revelations after GPS accused the previous government of not doing anything to resolve the issue."So for the information of GPS Backbenchers, I and several ministers did try to find a solution that would not result in a win-lose situation but a win-win conclusion."However, the then home minister (at the time) was not in favour of an out-of-court settlement and wanted the court to decide, for reasons best known to himself. "Now that the court has made a ruling, he should advise the rakyat to respect the decision," he said.Baru said he was aware that the cases were very sensitive and therefore that was why he wanted them resolved administratively."I hope we can stand together on a bipartisan foundation to defend the rights of all Malaysian citizens notwithstanding their creed, race and background as per our oath of office as the elected representatives of our constituents," he said.
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