DAP’s Aziz Bari slams Takiyuddin for making him a scapegoat in Jill Ireland’s case

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

IPOH, May 25 ― DAP’s Tebing Tinggi assemblyman Abdul Aziz Bari said that he did not represent the Muslim or the Malay community when submitting the affidavit in the Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill’s case as accused by Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan.

Abdul Aziz said that he prepared and submitted the affidavit based on the Constitution’s content after it was requested by Jill Ireland’s lawyer for his constitutional view on the case.

“I want to respond to a video of a press conference which has made me and a few friends of mine as a black sheep in the Jill Ireland’s case.

“The decision in the Jill Ireland’s case was made by the High Court, so I don’t know why I’m being targeted by the PAS secretary-general (Takiyuddin),” he told a press conference at the Perak Darul Ridzuan Building here.

He also asked why Takiyuddin did not criticise the High Court Judge’s decision in the Jill Ireland’s case instead of targeting DAP, which he said is irrelevant in the case.

“I gave the affidavit based on my personal view and did not involve DAP,” he said.

Abdul Aziz, who is known as a constitutional expert, said that his view in the Jill Ireland’s case was in the context of right for the freedom of religion.

“I was made to understand that the Bible possessed by Jill Ireland, which has the word “Allah” was for her personal use and for the Christians in Sarawak and was not to propagate Christianity.

“According to the Constitution, we can’t refrain someone from practicing their religion. It is their wish on how they want to address their God, who are we to tell them how to call their God. That is the issue here,” he said.

Recently, Takiyuddin accused Abdul Aziz of filing an affidavit, supposedly representing the whole Malay community in Malaysia, to support the Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill’s application.

Takiyuddin said DAP Bangi MP Syahredzan Johan and Election Commission deputy director Azmi Sharom also filed similar affidavits to support the Jill Ireland case.

“Many things can be questioned in this affidavits, are all three individuals who filed this affidavit supporting the Jill Ireland application superseded the State Islamic Religious Council authorities?

“It was also said that the application was submitted after considering the decree by Sultan of Johor and Sultan of Selangor. Was this matter referred? These are things we question on this case,” he was heard talking in an one minute video that went viral in social media.

On May 15, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s government confirmed it had withdrawn its appeal against the 2021 High Court ruling in favour of the Sarawakian native, Jill Ireland.

The move put an end to the 15-year-long legal saga that began when the government seized the Sarawak Bumiputera’s eight educational CDs containing the word “Allah”, the Arabic word for God, which were for her own use.

On May 18, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution said that Putrajaya withdrawal of an appeal in Jill Ireland’s case was meant to give the government time to “study” a 1986 directive that banned Christians from using the term “Allah” alongside three other words.

Saifuddin said that the entire legal dispute was never about who gets the exclusive right to use the word “Allah”, an Arabic term for “God” used widely by Christians in other countries including the Middle East.

Instead, the legal battle was centred on what he described as the contradictory directive issued by the Cabinet and Home Ministry respectively in May and December 1986.

On May 23, Anwar pledged that the government will amend and revoke all laws that are in conflict with a Rulers Council's decision that the word “Allah” can only be used by Muslims in Peninsular Malaysia, and with restrictions for non-Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak.

Anwar said this was to ensure that the issue may no longer be contested in any courts, after the 2021 landmark decision in the Jill Ireland case where Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Nor Bee Ariffin ruled the government had erred in issuing the 1986 ban on the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims.

Anwar also announced that the government will present a proposal to the Conference of Rulers in July on the usage of “Allah” for non-Muslims in the country.

Previously, Anwar said that persisting with the appeal in the “Allah” court dispute with a Sarawakian Christian would have been futile after a 1986 Cabinet and the Conference of Rulers had decided that non-Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak could use the word under certain conditions.