Friday, October 3, 2014

Minister won’t return Allah CDs to Jill Ireland, cites public interest

BY V. ANBALAGAN, ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR


The home minister has affirmed the government's stand in an affidavit in support of an application to obtain a stay of a July 18 High Court ruling ordering the return of CDs containing the word ‘Allah’ to a Melanau Christian. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 2, 2014.
The home minister has affirmed the government's stand in an affidavit in support of an application to obtain a stay of a July 18 High Court ruling ordering the return of CDs containing the word ‘Allah’ to a Melanau Christian. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 2, 2014.

Putrajaya will not return the eight Christian CDs containing the word “Allah” to Jill Ireland on grounds of public interest, says Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in an affidavit.
The minister affirmed the government's stand in an affidavit in support of an application to obtain a stay of a July 18 High Court ruling, ordering that the CDs be returned.
"The High Court decision must be stayed on grounds that public interest must be maintained," Ahmad Zahid said in the affidavit affirmed on August 21, which was sighted by The Malaysian Insider.
He said the CDs were the main basis for appeal and would remain a worthless paper judgment if the items were returned to Ireland now.
Judge Datuk Zaleha Yusof had ordered the return of the CDs to the Melanau clerk but did not set a time frame for it to be complied. She also ordered the government to pay the applicant RM5,000 in costs.
Ireland's lawyer Annou Xavier said he had written two letters on August 13 and 21 to the government’s lawyers, seeking the return of the CDs following the High Court ruling.
"Now they have filed for a stay of the High Court order. We will file an affidavit in reply to object the application," he told The Malaysian Insider.
The High Court has fixed case management on October 29.
Home Ministry officials had confiscated the CDs from Ireland at the then Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) in Sepang in 2008 and this prompted the Melanau Christian to challenge the seizure in court.
The CDs, which Ireland had bought in from Indonesia for personal use, bore titles such as "Cara Hidup Dalam Kerajaan Allah", " Hidup Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah" and "Ibadah Yang Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah".
She has also asked for a declaration, saying that she has a legitimate expectation to exercise the right to use "Allah" and to continue to own and import such materials.
On May 4, 2009, the High Court granted Ireland leave for judicial review.
Ireland's legal team had argued that this case was not about Christianity against Islam, but about her constitutional right as a native Bumiputera Christian.
Putrajaya had submitted that the minister had exercised his power under the Printing, Presses and Publication Act 1984 to withhold the material if it was likely to be prejudicial to public order.
"The home minister was satisfied that the use of the word 'Allah' in the CDs may cause harm to public order as well as cause religious sensitivity among Christians and Muslims in Malaysia.
"In Islam, Allah is based on the concept of Oneness but this is not the same in Christianity which follows the concept of Trinity," ‎senior federal counsel Munahyza Mustafa had said at the last hearing.
This decision comes after the Federal Court ‎had in June dismissed the application for leave by the Catholic Church to appeal against the ban on its weekly publication Herald from using the word “Allah”.
Four of the seven-member bench dismissed the church's application for appeal, citing that the Court of Appeal was right in its decision to ban the word in the Catholic weekly.
Yesterday, evangelical-denomination Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) obtained leave in a judicial review application to seek a declaration that the word "Allah" could be used in any Christian publication.
A three-man Court of Appeal unanimously allowed the appeal by SIB to reverse a May 5 High Court ruling.
Zaleha , who had also presided over this case, said that she was bound by a September 14 Court of Appeal ruling in the case of Catholic weekly, Herald, that the word “Allah” could not be used in the Christian publication on grounds it was not an integral part of Christianity.
The bench, chaired by Datuk Rohana Yusof, said the Federal Court had held that the September 14 finding that "Allah was not an integral part of Christianity", was a mere passing remark. – October 2, 2014.  
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/minister-wont-return-allah-cds-to-jill-ireland-cites-public-interest#sthash.WszvV75t.dpuf

No comments: