Saying Allah (Malaysia)

Several years ago, I posted news about a case in which the Catholic weekly magazine The Herald attempted to use the word “Allah” to describe God. The government attempted to suspend The Herald  and the magazine filed a petition for constitutional review. Initially, the High Court ruled in the magazine’s favor and struck the government’s action down. However, this week, the Court of Appeal overturned that ruling, deciding that the government acted within its discretion.

I had suspected that the original 2009 decision might signal a new willingness of the judiciary to challenge the government. Despite UMNO’s very narrow margin of victory in the general elections earlier this year, this does not seem to be happening. There is still one more level of appeal – the Federal Court – so this case might not be over. However, the Federal Court has tended to be sympathetic to the government, so it seems unlikely that it will overturn this decision.

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