High Court Sets Feb 20 Hearing Of SIB Church’s Right To Use The Word ‘Allah’

An SIB church building in Sabah's interior.
An SIB church building in Sabah’s interior.

KUALA LUMPUR – The High Court here Thursday set five days, from Feb 20 to 24 next year to hear an originating summons filed by the Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) Church over the right to use the word “Allah” in its religious publications and materials.

Judge Datuk Hanipah Farikullah fixed the dates in chambers when the matter came up for mention.

Reverend Jerry Dusing
Reverend Jerry Dusing

Lawyer Lim Seng Heng, represented the church and its president, Reverend Datuk Jerry W.A Dusing @ Jerry W. Patel, while senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan acted on behalf of the Home Ministry and the government.

Lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, representing the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP), who was present as ‘amicus curiae’, when met by reporters said the court also set Nov 29 for case management.

He said the court had also changed the legal application by the church from a judicial review to an originating summons to efficiently expedite the case.

The church and its president had filed an application to initiate a judicial review proceeding to challenge the Royal Malaysian Customs Department’s decision in seizing its religious book, containing the word “Allah”, which were brought from Surabaya, Indonesia, at the Low Cost Terminal in Sepang on Aug 15, 2007.

In the application, they named the Home Ministry and the government as respondents.

Although the books were returned to the church on Jan 25, 2008, they continued with the legal action by applying for leave from the Court of Appeal to initiate a judicial review.

The SIB Church and its president were granted the leave on Oct 1, 2014.

They are seeking for, among others, the right of the church and its Bahasa Malaysia-speaking congregation to use the term “Allah” in the Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia translations of the Bible, and all other religious publications and materials.