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Court Rules MAIWP Can’t Intervene In Church’s Judicial Review

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PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has ruled that the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) cannot intervene in the application of the Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) Church for a judicial review to seek a declaration over the use of the word “Allah”.

In reversing a decision of the KL High Court in the matter following an appeal by the church, the three-man Court of Appeal panel led by Justice Datuk Dr Hamid Sultan Abu Backer, however, ruled that MAIWP could appear as an amicus curiae (friend of the court).

It ruled MAIWP was allowed to assist the court on issues to be argued in the judicial review.

Justice Dr Hamid Sultan said MAIWP did not have direct interest in the case and it also owed no liabilities to the church or non-Muslims.

He said the Attorney-General, who is the guardian of public interest, was indirectly participating in the action because he was representing the Home Ministry and the Government in the court case and there was no need for other agencies to be there.

The court allowed the church’s appeal to reverse the KL High Court decision to allow MAIWP to intervene in the judicial review action brought by the Borneo Evangelical Church over its right to use the word “Allah” in its religious publications and practices.

The two other judges on the panel were Justices Datuk Zamani A. Rahim and Datuk Zaleha Yusof.

The Borneo Evangelical Church or SIB and its president Reverend Datuk Jerry W.A Dusing @ Jerry W. Patel filed a judicial review to challenge the Customs Department’s decision to seize its religious books containing the word “Allah”, brought in from Surabaya, Indonesia, at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal in Sepang on Aug 15, 2007.

Although the books were returned to the church on Jan 25, 2008, the church and Dusing sought the permission of the Court of Appeal to initiate a judicial review to seek a declaration that they have the constitutional right to use the Arabic word for God “Allah” in the Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia translations of the Christian Bible, and in all other religious publications and materials.

The Court of Appeal granted them leave to commence the judicial review on Oct 1, 2014. – Bernama

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