Its 12-4 precedent

The Federal Court unanimously and exhaustively decided landmark decision against for the Catholic Church Herald disobedience to the Home Ministry’s instruction for barring to use the word “Allah” in the weekly publication, for being reviewed.

The pro-Anwaristan news portal story:

End of the road for Catholic Church as court dismisses ‘Allah’ review

BY V. ANBALAGAN AND JENNIFER GOMEZ

Published: 21 January 2015 3:18 PM

Father Lawrence Andrew walks near a window during lunch hour at the Federal Court in Putrajaya today. The Catholic Church lost the appeal to review the ban to use the word Allah in its newsweekly Herald. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Nazir Sufarai, January 21, 2015.
Father Lawrence Andrew walks near a window during lunch hour at the Federal Court in Putrajaya today. The Catholic Church lost the appeal to review the ban to use the word Allah in its newsweekly Herald. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Nazir Sufarai, January 21, 2015.
The Catholic Church’s long battle to use the word Allah in newsweekly Herald came to an end today after the dismissal of its review application.

A five-man bench led by Tan Sri Abdull Hamid Embong unanimously held that here had been no procedural unfairness in the Federal Court’s earlier decision not to grant leave.

He added that the threshold for the review had not been met. The court did not give any order on costs.

A seven-member panel of federal court judges on June 23, 2014, dismissed the church’s application for leave to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision to the Herald from using the Arabic word for “God” in its Bahasa content.
Chief justice Tun Arifin Zakaria was among the four on the panel who dismissed the church’s application, in a 4-3 “skin of our teeth” judgment, as the church’s lawyers have called it, that saw three other judges dissenting.

The other judges in the majority decision were Tan Sri Raus Shariff, Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin and Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar.

The dissenting judges were Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, Tan Sri Jeffrey Tan Kok Hwa and Datuk Zainun Ali.

Besides Hamid, other judges sitting today were Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop, Tan Sri Hasan Lah, Datuk Ramly Ali and Datuk Azahar Mohamed.

In 2009, the High Court had declared that the decision by the home minister to ban the Herald from using the word “Allah” was illegal, null and void.

The church, led by the then Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese Archbishop Emeritus Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam, had filed a judicial review application, naming the minister and the government as respondents.

High Court judge Lau Bee Lan had declared it unconstitutional to ban non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” provided it was not used to propagate their religion among Muslims.

On October 14, 2013, the then Court of Appeal judge, Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali, who allowed the government’s appeal against the High Court decision, had said that the reason for the prohibition was to prevent any confusion among the various religions.

He had also said that national security and public order could be threatened if the publisher of the Herald was allowed to use the word “Allah”.

Apandi held that the government had not violated the church’s constitutional rights.

“It is our common finding that the name ‘Allah’ was not an integral part of the Christian faith and practice,” he had said.

He had also said that the minister had sufficient material before him to ban the Herald from using the word.

“Thus, there is no plausible reason for the High Court to interfere with the minister’s decision,” Apandi had said.

The word “Allah” is widely used by the Christians in Sabah and Sarawak and the church has argued that the ban of its use in the Herald is a violation of freedom of religion and expression. – January 21, 2015.

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This precedent for the barring to use the word “Allah” in Malay publication meant for the catholic church is a precedent of gargantuan proportions.

The Apex Court exhaustively provided avenue for the Catholic Church Herald to pursuit the matter further.

What is interesting to note, that this was to add to the 4-3 Apex Court judges decision 23 June 2014. Taking into consideration right when it was presented to the Kuala Lumpur High Court as a challenge to the 2009 Home Ministry intention to revoke Herald’s publication license for disallowing the use of “Allah”, deemed meant intentionally for the Malay readership.

In aggregate, twelve judges are for the Home Ministry’s decision to bar the Catholic Church Herald instead of four against. The ‘For’ are the five Apex Court judges who unanimously voted today, four in the Federal Court last June and the uninamous three in the Court of Appeal on 14 October 2013.

High Court Judge Lau Bee Lan allowed for the Catholic Church Herald to defy Home Ministry’s ban against the use of the word “Allah” on the last day of 2009.

Malaysians should put this matter to rest and not raise, provoke and challenge the system which provided in the Federal Constitution as a prohibition for any intention or attempts to profess Christianity to Muslims, in any direct or indirect form.

The provocation include the statement made by HE Vatican Ambassador to Malaysia Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Joseph Marino a year and a half ago, through a story published by a pro-Anwarista news portal. That added to the tension to the much watch case, still being heard by the Malaysian Courts.

Published in: on January 21, 2015 at 15:57  Comments (8)