PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court has fixed March 24 for another case management in Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) Church’s case over discovery of documents pertaining to the cabinet’s decision which prohibited the use of the word “Allah” in non-Muslim publications.
SIB Church had filed an application in the Federal Court for leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s dismissal on Oct 12 last year of the church’s appeal on the discovery of documents.
The matter came up for case management today before Federal Court deputy registrar Rasidah Roslee via e-review.
Lawyer Bobby Chew, representing the SIB Church and its president Jerry W A Dusing @ Jerry W Pate, and Federal Counsel M. Kogilambigai, appearing for the Home Ministry and government, attended the case management.
Chew, when contacted, said another case management date has been fixed to update the court on the filing of the notice of discontinuance of the leave to appeal application by the church.
He said he received instruction from his clients to withdraw the leave to appeal application for discovery of documents in view of the High Court’s recent decision in allowing a judicial review brought by a Sarawak native Christian, Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill.
Meanwhile, when contacted, deputy head of the civil division in the Attorney-General’s Chambers Shamsul Bolhassan confirmed the matter.
On Oct 16, 2017, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur dismissed the church’s application for the documents, ruling that the documents were classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and could not be released.
The documents were requested by the church and Dusing in a judicial review application filed on Dec 10, 2007 against the Home Ministry and the government over their right to use the word “Allah” to refer to God in their religious publications.
SIB Church and Dusing filed the judicial review after Malay-language Christian religious books containing the word “Allah” brought in from Surabaya, Indonesia were seized by the Customs Department at the low-cost carrier terminal in Sepang in August 2007.
On Oct 1, 2014, the Court of Appeal gave the nod to the church to initiate a judicial review application over the right to use the word “Allah” in all its religious publications and materials after the Kuala Lumpur High Court on May 5, 2014 dismissed the SIB Church’s leave application to commence a judicial review.
They are seeking a declaration that they have a constitutional right to use the word “Allah” in their Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia-translated Christian bibles and in all their religious publications and materials.