Monday, November 16, 2009

'Allah" ban: Church scores initial victory

Nov 11, 09 7:34pm

Eight parties including seven Islamic religious councils are no longer intervenors in the Kuala Lumpur Roman Catholic Church's application for a judicial review over the usage of the word "Allah".

High Court judge Lau Bee Lan ruled that based on the Federal Court ruling on Sept 3 in the case of Majlis Agama Islam Selangor vs Bong Boon Chuen & 150 others, the High Court had no jurisdiction to allow intervention in judicial review proceedings under Order 15 Rule 6(2)(b) of the Rules of the High Court 1980.

She then set aside her own order on Aug 3, allowing the eight parties to intervene in the new application by Archbishop Murphy Pakiam for a judicial review over the usage of the word "Allah" in the church's weekly publications of The Herald magazine.

The eight parties are the Islamic religious councils of Perak, Terengganu, Penang, Selangor, Kedah, Johor and Melaka, and the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association. The decision was made in chambers.

Court hearing to kick off on Dec 14

The church's counsel, S Selvarajah, told the media that the court fixed Dec 14 to hear the merits of the case.

Selvarajah said the court should hear the case before Dec 31 as The Herald's publication permit for 2009 would expire on Dec 31.

On Feb 16, Pakiam (right), as the publisher of The Herald, filed a new application for a judicial review after a similar application in 2008 was deemed academic following the expiry of The Herald's publication permit for Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2008.

In the application, naming the Home Ministry and the government as respondents, he is seeking, among others, a declaration that the decision by the respondents on Jan 7, 2009, prohibiting him from using the word "Allah" in the 'Herald-The Catholic Weekly' publication is illegal and that the word "Allah" is not exclusive to the religion of Islam. - Bernama

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