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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Anwar breaks silence on Penang’s ’40 words ban’


Although DAP national chief Karpal Singh has urged the Penang government to seek legal advice on the use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims in the state before a conviction occurs, state leaders have been silent over the matter.

Under the Penang Islamic Religious Administration Enactment 2004, non-Muslims are prohibited from using 40 words, including ‘Allah’.

Conviction under the Enactment carries a RM3,000 fine or jail term not exceeding two years or both.

There has been no opportunity to ask Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and an email by a reporter on the issue went unanswered.

Even state executive councillor on Islamic Affair Abdul Malik Kassim refused to comment.

When asked today, PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim said, “It is not that I am defending Guan Eng.

“But if he says a wrong word, he would be attacked by the entire BN media,” Anwar said when met in Sungai Lembu, Bukit Mertajam.

Asked to comment on the enactment, which was enforced in 2010 although there has not been a conviction so far, Anwar said, “Solve the ‘Allah’ issue first”.

“We must make sure there is no high-handedness, that there must be respect and understanding between all communities in the issue,” he added.

When pressed further about it, Anwar said the enactment, including the usage of the word ‘Allah’, has never been a problem.

To enforce such a law, Anwar said the religious departments have to give “compelling cases and arguments” before they take action.

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