Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Court wants new expert witness on why 'Allah' only for Muslims

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The Kuala Lumpur High Court today asked the Home Ministry to file an expert report on why it contends that the word "Allah" is exclusively for Muslims.

This is over the long-drawn case of Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill, who had her Malay-language Christian CDs seized by the authorities in 2008.

Senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan said they have to file the expert report to the court by July 14 as instructed by Justice Nor Bee Ariffin.

He noted that they had earlier submitted a report to the court, but said they now have to find another expert.

“I will have to get back to the Home Ministry on this,” he said.

Shamsul told reporters that Jill Ireland is applying to expunge certain portions of an affidavit filed by the ministry referring to the expert witness.

It was previously reported that the Home Ministry had included a report from the Islamic Institute of Understanding Malaysia as part of an expert report on why Christians cannot use the word "Allah" to refer to God in the Malay-language version of Christian texts.

Jill Ireland's lawyer Annou Xavier affirmed the court's request for a new expert report.

Appearing with Annou was lead counsel Lim Heng Seng.

9-year case

On May 11, 2008, the CDs titled "Cara Hidup Dalam Kerajaan Allah', 'Hidup Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah' and 'Ibadah Yang Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah", were seized from her, upon arrival at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) in Sepang.
The High Court had on July 21, 2014, ordered the return of the CDs to Jill Ireland but it did not make an order on the declaration she applied for, that she had the right to keep, use and import published materials containing the word "Allah".
On June 23, 2015, the Court of Appeal endorsed the High Court's decision which ordered the Home Ministry to return the eight CDs after dismissing the appeal by the ministry and the government against the High Court's decision.

The Court of Appeal ordered the Home Ministry to return all the CDs within a month from the date of the decision, and also ordered that the declaration sought by Jill Ireland be heard in the High Court.

Eventually, the CDs were returned last year, but she is proceeding with the judicial review application by seeking the declaratory relief to use materials containing the word "Allah" for religious and educational purposes.

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