The High Court here on Wednesday announced that it is alright for Christians nationwide to use the word ‘ALLAH’ for religious education publications. Apart from the word ‘ALLAH’, three other words that are allowed are Baitullah, Kaaba and solat.
However, it should be accompanied by a disclaimer stamp, ‘only for Christians’ and a symbol of the cross on the cover.
Judge Nor Bee Ariffin made the decision after allowing a declaration made by a Melanau woman from Sarawak, Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill that her constitutional right to practice her religion was denied by restrictions or the ban on imported educational materials.
When reading out her judgment, Nor Bee said the court allows the declaration in practising freedom of religion that is protected in Articles 3, 8, 11 and 12 of the Federal Constitution.
She said a declaration based on Article 8 of the Federal Constitution states that the applicant is guaranteed the right to equality among citizens on religious grounds in the administration of law.
“Besides, the declaration of the government’s directive on 5 December 1986 was wrong in law and unconstitutional,” she said.
In the proceedings, Jill as the applicant was represented by lawyers Lim Heng Seng, Annou Xavier and Tan Hooi Ping while Shamsul represented the Minister for Home Affairs and the government as the respondent.
On 11 May 2008, as soon as Jill arrived at the airport in Sepang, some of her belongings were confiscated namely compact discs (CD) titled ‘Cara Hidup Dalam Kerajaan Allah’, ‘Hidup Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah’ and ‘Ibadah Yang Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah’.
Following that, Jill filed a judicial review to reclaim the CDs and relief that her constitutional right to practice her religion was violated by restricting or prohibiting imported educational materials.
In 2014, the High Court granted Jill’s application and ordered all eight CDs to be returned, but did not make any judgement on the other reliefs sought.