Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sidang Injil Borneo’s case delayed again in High Court


BY JENNIFER GOMEZ

MARCH 04, 2014
SIB Sabah president Reverend Datuk Jerry Dusing (left) and National Evangelical Christian secretary Alfred Tais outside the the Kuala Lumpur High Court today. SIB has been waiting for a judicial review since 2007 on the seizure and return of its bibles. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, March 4, 2014. SIB Sabah president Reverend Datuk Jerry Dusing (left) and National Evangelical Christian secretary Alfred Tais outside the the Kuala Lumpur High Court today. SIB has been waiting for a judicial review since 2007 on the seizure and return of its bibles. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, March 4, 2014.Dogged by delays since 2007, the judicial review leave application by the Sabah chapter of Christian group Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) was postponed again today when High Court judge Datuk Zaleha Yusof went on medical leave.
Zaleha is the fourth judge to preside over the case since the judicial review application was filed in December 2007.
The court has now set April 3 to hear the leave application.
SIB Sabah president Reverend Datuk Jerry Dusing, speaking outside the court today, said he hoped the issues before the court could be addressed speedily as there had been long delays.
He also explained why SIB was seeking remedy in the courts.
"As a church, we just want to state our position. And the current situation requires us to be more vocal and upfront, but we are not fighting back, we are merely making a public statement."
Dusing said this was necessary as religious tension in the country had escalated over the last 10 years and, as such, they wanted the court to recognise their right to profess their faith and manage their own religious affairs.
SIB filed the judicial review leave application to challenge the seizure of its religious books brought in from Indonesia.
Although the books have been released, SIB is seeking declaration from the court that its congregation has the constitutional right to use the word “Allah” in all its religious publications and materials.
SIB is also seeking a declaration that its congregation, a majority of whom are Bahasa Malaysia-speaking natives, is entitled to own, possess, use and import materials notwithstanding the use of the word “Allah” in those publications.
On the Herald case at the Federal Court tomorrow, Dusing said that even if the Catholic Church lost the right to appeal, no one could impose a law on a person's belief.
"Laws can exist and can exert a lot of control, but whether or not the individual will obey the law depends on his belief system.
"You can impose laws as a means to prevent something, but it will not be able to change a person's mind, heart and belief."
SIB lawyer Lim Heng Seng said whatever the decision in the Herald case tomorrow, it would not affect the SIB case.

"This is because the constitutional points in this case have not been raised or explored in the Herald case, especially from the position of religious freedom assured to the people of Sabah and Sarawak who have been using the word for generations as an integral part in their practice of their faith.”
Tomorrow the  Federal Court will hear whether the church's application for leave to appeal ought to be given, five months after the Court of Appeal had ruled that the home minister was right in prohibiting the use of the word “Allah” in the Herald. – March 4, 2014.
~ The Malaysian Insider

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