Federal Court decided against The Herald Weekly highly controversial and politicised appeal to allow them to use ‘kalimah Allah’ in the publication and upheld the Court of Appeal judgment against the Christian Federation of Malaysia’s weekly.
Herald Weekly fails to get leave to appeal “Allah” ban
BY HIDIR REDUAN SHARANPAL SINGH RANDHAWARAHMAT KHAIRULRIJAL – 23 JUNE 2014 @ 10:14 AM
PUTRAJAYA: The Herald Weekly today failed to get leave from the Federal Court to challenge the Home Ministry’s ban on its use of the word “Allah” in its Bahasa Malaysia edition.
A seven-man panel led by Chief Justice Ariffin Zakaria delivered a majority 4-3 judgment on the matter, here, today.
Also on the panel are Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif, Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, Federal Court judge Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum and Federal Court judges Datuk Jefrrey Tan Kok Wha and Datuk Zainun Ali.
Earlier, Perkasa vice-president Syed Osman Mansor said the non-governmental organisation will not go against any decision made by the apex court.
“Whatever the decision is, we will abide to it. We will not take it to the streets if the ruling is to allow an appeal.
“Of course, we would be disappointed if the appeal is allowed but as I said we will abide to the decision,” he said.
Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said that disappointed or not the people will have to accept the decision.
“We had on various occasions discussed this matter in our Supreme Council meetings and there will not be any sort of demonstration.
Some 500 Perkasa members, men, women and children, clad in black T-Shirt written “Allah just for Muslim” had gathered at the Palace of Justice as early as 5.30am to show support.
The four versus three majority at the Federal Court decision upheld that the definitive provision in the Federal Constitution 3(1) where it states ‘Islam is the religion of the Federation of Malaysia’ and 11(4) prohibiton to profess the faith of Non Islamic religion to Muslims, still stand.
Despite this judgment is on the case brought forth by CFM to take to court Home Ministry for banning the ‘kalimah Allah’ in the Malay edition of the Herald, this should be the precedent and an end on the controversy, once and for all.
Any interpretations about using “Allah” to replace “God” in Christian publications should fall back to this ruling.
This include in the case of Malay bibles, confiscated from the Bible Society of Malaysia on 2 January 2014 in Damansara Kim, Petaling Jaya. Majlis Islam Selangor (MAIS), which is the state religious council and answerable directly to HRH Sultan Selangor already proclaimed that the seized bibles would not be returned.
This is consistent to the titah of HRH Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah that “Allah is exclusive to Muslims and other faiths are prohibited to use it”.
However, it is clear many pockets of minority who claims to be Malaysians and swore by the Federal Constitution including legal practitioners, are not able to respect the decision of the Apex Court. The 4-3 majority rule that translate to the interpretation of the existing laws in the context of upholding the Court of Appeal ruling to disallow the use of ‘kalimah Allah’ by CFM The Herald is sublime.
The Malay Mail online:
Bar VP: Federal Court should have allowed ‘Allah’ appeal
BY BOO SU-LYN
JUNE 23, 2014
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Muslim supporters gather in front of the Federal Court as they wait for the seven-member bench to decide on the appeal by the Catholic church against a lower court’s decision forbidding it to use the word ‘Allah’ in its publication, on June 23, 2014. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 — The Federal Court should have permitted the Catholic Church to challenge a court decision upholding a ban on its use of “Allah” in its newsletter as the application met the criteria for appeal, said vice president of the Malaysian Bar Steven Thiru.
Steven said the questions posed in the case had fulfilled the requirements of Section 96(a) of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964, which involved the questions of public importance, as well as Section 96(b) on constitutional issues.
“It is regrettable that the Federal Court refused leave,” Steven told The Malay Mail Online today.
“The Federal Court has missed the opportunity to decide on important points of constitutional and administrative law that affect minorities’ rights and the protection of minority rights under our constitutional scheme,” he added.
Earlier today, the Federal Court rejected the Catholic Church’s application to appeal against the Home Ministry’s ban on the Arabic word “Allah” in its weekly paper, the Herald, in a 4-3 decision by the seven-member bench.
Steven said the case of the Herald had raised important constitutional questions involving Article 3 (Islam is the religion of the federation), Article 8 (equality before the law), Article 11 (the right to profess and practise one’s religion) and Article 12 (the prohibition of religious discrimination) of the Federal Constitution.
The lawyer added that the Federal Court’s refusal to grant leave to the Catholic Church meant that the Court of Appeal’s ruling last year stood.
As part of its judgment, the appellate court said that “Allah” was not integral to the Christian faith and that the home minister was justified in banning the Herald from describing God with the Arabic word on grounds of national security and public order.
“It could be used as binding precedent on the lower courts unless it can be distinguished on the facts (if the other cases are on very different facts) or is shown to be ‘per incuriam’ (if it is shown that the Court of Appeal’s decision is contrary to established principles of law),” said Steven.
Already, its effects have been felt beyond the Herald, despite Putrajaya’s continued insistence that the ruling was limited to the Catholic paper.
Last month, the Kuala Lumpur High Court struck out Sabah Sidang Injil Borneo’s (SIB) 2007 lawsuit against the Home Ministry for confiscating three boxes of Malay-language Christian publications that contained the word “Allah”, citing the Court of Appeal’s decision.
It may also have repercussions on the lawsuit brought by Sarawakian Christian Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill against the Home Ministry for seizing in 2008 her personal compact discs (CD) containing the word “Allah” that is pending.
When asked if the Federal Court’s decision nullified the Cabinet’s 10-point solution that allowed the distribution of Christian holy scriptures in the Malay, Indonesian and indigenous languages, Steven said: “This could well be the upshot of the decision if the Court of Appeal’s judgment is construed as being applicable beyond the Herald case”.
The Christian Federation of Malaysia, an umbrella body representing churches nationwide, said today that it would hold Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail and Putrajaya to a statement by the top lawyer on October 20, 2013, that the Court of Appeal’s decision was confined to the Herald.
Steven also said that nothing in the Federal Court’s judgment, as read out in court today, would allow Selangor’s Islamic authorities to dispose of the Malay and Iban-language bibles that they had seized from the Bible Society of Malaysia in January.
Last year, the Court of Appeal ruled that “Allah” was not integral to the Christian faith and that the home minister was justified in banning the Herald from using the Arabic word on grounds of national security and public order.
Bar Council office bearers are demonstrating their attitude and arrogance no different to Chinese Chauvinists DAP. They neither respect the stance of Rulers as Constitutional Head for all religious matters nor the Federal Constitution and/nor State Constitution.
The fact is that protecting the interests of minority by challenging against what clearly provided in the Federal Constitution, which is the document enacted by Parliament by representatives of the rakyat of upholding the sovereignty of this nation as an independent state.