The KL High Court has ruled that Christians in Malaysia can use the words “Allah”, “Baitullah”, “Kaabah” and “solat” for religious education purposes, ruling that a 1986 government ban on the words was unconstitutional…

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The order today means that the government’s long-standing absolute ban in the 1986 circular on the use of the word “Allah” in Christian publications in Malaysia has been declared invalid by the court.

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High Court quashes govt’s 1986 ban on ‘Allah’ use by Christians, affirms Sarawakian Bumiputera’s right to religion and non-discrimination

Wednesday, 10 Mar 2021 01:35 PM MYT

BY IDA LIM

KUALA LUMPUR, March 10 ― The High Court today ruled that the Malaysian government’s directive issued in 1986 with a total ban on the use of the word “Allah” in Christian publications is unconstitutional and invalid, and also declared orders to affirm Sarawakian Bumiputera Christian Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill’s right to not be discriminated against and practise her faith.

Justice Datuk Nor Bee Ariffin, who has since been elevated to be a Court of Appeal judge, granted three of the specific constitutional reliefs sought by the Sarawakian native of the Melanau tribe.

The three orders granted by the judge include a declaration that it is Jill Ireland’s constitutional right under the Federal Constitution’s Article 3, 8, 11 and 12 to import the publications in exercise of her rights to practise religion and right to education.

The other two declarations granted by the judge today are that a declaration under Article 8 that Jill Ireland is guaranteed equality of all persons before the law and is protected from discrimination against citizens on the grounds of religion in the administration of the law ― specifically the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and Customs Act 1967), and a declaration that government directive issued by the Home Ministry’s publication control’s division via a circular dated December 5, 1986 is unlawful and unconstitutional.

The order today means that the government’s long-standing absolute ban in the 1986 circular on the use of the word “Allah” in Christian publications in Malaysia has been declared invalid by the court.

The Bahasa Malaysia-speaking Jill Ireland filed her lawsuit almost 13 years ago after the Home Ministry seized eight educational compact discs (CDs) containing the word “Allah” meant for her personal use at the Sepang LCCT airport upon her return from Indonesia.

Following the May 11, 2008 seizure, Jill Ireland filed for judicial review in August the same year against the home minister and the government of Malaysia.

The High Court had in July 2014 ruled that the Home Ministry was wrong to seize the CDs and ordered that they be returned, but did not address the constitutional points then.

Jill Ireland finally received her CDs in September 2015, months after the Court of Appeal had in June 2015 directed the Home Ministry to do so.

At the same time, the Court of Appeal in June 2015 sent two constitutional issues back to the High Court to be heard, namely a declaration that it is her constitutional right under the Federal Constitution’s Article 11 to import the publications in exercise of her rights to practise religion and right to education, and a declaration under Article 8 that she is guaranteed equality of all persons before the law and is protected from discrimination against citizens on the grounds of religion in the administration of the law ― specifically the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and Customs Act 1967).

The High Court later heard the constitutional issues over two days in October and November 2017, but the decision which was initially scheduled to be delivered in March 2018 has been deferred several times over the years, due to various reasons such as both sides seeking resolution outside the court and also the movement control order.

MORE TO COME

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/03/10/high-court-quashes-govts-1986-ban-on-allah-use-by-christians-affirms-sarawa/1956527

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