KUALA LUMPUR: The 1986 Government Directive, which dictates the absolute prohibition on the use of the word “Allah”, is unconstitutional, the High Court was told today.
Counsel Lim Heng Seng, who is appearing for Jill Ireland, a Melanau Christian, in her judicial review application seeking a declaration that she had the right to keep, use and import published materials containing the word “Allah”, said the directive went against Article 11 of the Federal Constitution, guaranteeing freedom of religion.
Lim said as a result of the directive, the rights of the Bahasa Malaysia speaking Christian community to practise their religion have been impacted.
“They are not merely restricted but also denied their fundamental right to practise their religion by having access to their Holy Scriptures and other Christian religious literature.
“What it means is you can call upon God with your mouth, but the word Allah cannot be used in publications and other Christian literature.
“If they can profess God with their mouths, then they must also be allowed to use Allah in their literature. Freedom to practise religion means one must have access to such publications,” he said in his submissions before Justice Nor Bee Ariffin today. Read more →
Lawyer Lim Heng Seng argued that the Home Ministry’s ban of the word “Allah” in Christian publications through a 1986 circular was unconstitutional and unlawful, asserting that it had breached the Federal Constitution’s guarantee of the rights of religious freedom and non-discrimination to all Malaysians.
Church leaders with some of the lawyers for Sarawakian Bumiputera Christian Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill and some of the lawyers who held watching briefs. ― Picture by Ida Lim
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 19 ― Two local Malay-Muslims had separately testified that there was no confusion and no threat to public order arising from the use of the Arabic word “Allah” by the local Bahasa Malaysia-speaking Christian community, the court was told today.
Lawyer Lim Heng Seng, the lead counsel for his BM-speaking Sarawakian Bumiputera Christian client Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill, referred to lawyer Syahredzan Johan’s 2014 sworn testimony that he had not been confused as a Muslim by the use of “Allah” by the Christian and Sikh communities.
“He says that his Islamic faith has not been threatened, affected or confused or influenced by his Christian and Sikh friends’ practice of their religion notwithstanding their use of the word “Allah” by them,” he told the court today, noting that the government has not denied or furnish evidence to counter the affidavit by Syahredzan that was filed three years ago.
Lim was arguing that the Home Ministry’s ban of the word “Allah” in Christian publications through a 1986 circular was unconstitutional and unlawful, asserting that it had breached the Federal Constitution’s guarantee of the rights of religious freedom and non-discrimination to all Malaysians. Read more →
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 19 ― A witness testifying in a public inquiry into the disappearance of Pastor Raymond Koh described the latter’s alleged abduction as resembling a police operation.
Roeshan Celestine Gomez told the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) panel into the case that a police investigating officer had made the remark while recording the witness statement at the Kelana Jaya Police Station in Selangor.
“He told me not to worry. In a casual conversation he told me based on how I described the incident, it looked like a police operation because it was done very quickly and in broad daylight.
“He also asked his colleague to check if there was any police operation that day and said he would get back to me,” said Gomez, the first witness called to testify at the Suhakam inquiry that kicks off today. Read more →