Saturday, November 1, 2014

Third reminder for gov't to return Christian CDs

8:14AM Nov 1, 2014
By Anjulie Ngan
Sarawakian Christian Jill Ireland yesterday sent a third letter of demand asking the government to return religious CDs seized from her in 2008.

The letter gave the Home Ministry and the government seven days to comply with the Kuala Lumpur High Court's July 21 decision.

The court ruling said the government has to return eight religious CDs it had seized six years ago containing the word ‘Allah’, and to pay RM5,000 in legal costs.

The earlier letters of demand, sent by Jill's lawyers on Aug 13 and Aug 21, addressed to the Attorney-General's Chambers did not receive any response.

Despite subsequent court decisions ordering the release of the items, the Home Ministry is still appealing the ruling, which they did on July 22.

Jill's lawyer Annou Xavier confirmed with Malaysiakini that further measures will be taken if the home minister and the government fail to comply with the court order for the third time.

The government's stay of application is fixed for case management at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Dec 2, while the appeal by both the government and Jill at the Court of Appeal is scheduled for Feb 10, 2015.

Jill's CDs which she brought from Indonesia were seized on May 11, 2008, at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) by Customs Department senior officer Suzana Muin.

Justice Zaleha Yusof ruled that Suzana had acted illegally by seizing the materials, as such powers only lie with the Home Ministry.

More Christian publications seized

Last Saturday, hundreds of Christian CDs and books from a Sabah resident, Maklin Masiau, were confiscated at the KL International Airport 2 (KLIA2), as reported by portal Malay Mail Online.
                         
The Home Ministry released a statement yesterday stating that the 574 books, 419 CDs and five DVDs were seized on suspicion that they were bound for Peninsular Malaysia instead of Sabah.

"Usually, for items on transit, the baggage will be transferred into the aircraft directly without the need to bring them into the main terminal.

"In this regard, a seizure letter to review the consignment was issued to the carrier to ascertain if the publications were actually being brought to Sabah," said the statement.

The ministry added that the items taken from Maklin when he arrived in KLIA2 from Medan, Indonesia, will be returned to him after bein  ascertained that they are bound for Sabah.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had earlier told the Borneo Christian community that the term ‘Allah’ can be used in their Malay texts.
                                                          
The government had won its second appeal against a ruling to lift the Home Ministry ban on Catholic weekly The Herald from using the word 'Allah' to refer to God.

However, the cabinet had assured Sabah and Sarawak Christians that the ruling did not apply to their daily practice across the South China Sea.

~ Malaysiakini

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