Putrajaya to file expert opinion that ‘Allah’ exclusive to Muslims

AllahKUALA LUMPUR: The home ministry will file an expert report to support their argument that the word “Allah” is exclusive to Muslims, a government lawyer said.

Shamsul Bolhassan said the Attorney-General’s Chambers would liaise with their client who they have in mind as expert to submit the opinion in response to a suit filed by a Sarawakian, Jill Ireland.

“We have been given until July 14 to submit the report to the court,” Shamsul told reporters after a case management in the chambers of Justice Nor Bee Ariffin today.

He said lawyers for Ireland had also indicated they would expunge the report.

Lim Heng Seng and Anou Xavier are appearing for Ireland who in 2008 had filed a judicial review to challenge the seizure of eight CDs with Christian content, which had the word “Allah” on it, at an airport in Malaysia after returning from Indonesia.

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 by Customs officers from Ireland, a Melanau Christian, on her arrival at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) in Sepang.

On Aug 20, 2008, she filed an application for leave for judicial review to reclaim the eight CDs, naming the home ministry and government as respondents.

On July 21, 2014, the High Court ordered the home ministry to return the CDs to Ireland but did not issue a declaration she had 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 upheld the High Court’s decision for the home ministry to return the eight CDs to Ireland within one month of the ruling date.

The panel also remitted Ireland’s application for the declaration to the High Court.

She now wants a declaration that she has the right to import the CDs in the exercise of her rights to practise religion and the right to education, as provided for by the Federal Constitution’s Article 11 on the freedom of religion.

The High Court will also decide on Ireland’s bid for a declaration that the Constitution’s Article 8 guarantees her equality before the law and protection from discrimination on grounds of religion in the administration of law, especially the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and the Customs Act 1967.