Monday, January 18, 2010

Must read : High Court Judge Lau Bee Lan's written judgement on the "Allah" issue

High Court judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan’s controversial ‘Allah’ ruling that rocked the nation over who had rights to the term cited that the Home Minister and government’s actions had been illegal, unconstitutional, irrational and had failed to satisfy that it was a threat to national security.

She also wrote about the apparent conflict in the matter between the Federal Constitution and the various state enactments apart from claims by Muslim groups that the matter cannot be taken to a civil court.

The judge released the written grounds of her Dec 31 judgment late on Friday while the increasingly acrimonious public debate over who has the right to use the word “Allah” continues to rage on.

The Malaysian Insider obtained a copy of her 57-page judgment where the judge lays out the reasons and the laws behind her oral pronouncement.

In laying out her judgment, Justice Lau ruled that the Home Minister and the Government of Malaysia, who were named as 1st and 2nd Respondents respectively, has the discretion under Section 12 of the Printing Presses and Publications Act to issue or revoke a permit to the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Reverend Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam (the Applicant) to publish the Church’s newspaper, Herald — The Catholic Weekly.

But, she stressed, the respondents had made decisions that were illegal, unconstitutional and irrational when they barred the Catholic newspaper from publishing the word “Allah” in its Bahasa Malaysia section.

The case was brought by the Roman Catholic Church, represented by the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Reverend Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam on February 16 last year when he filed for a judicial review against the Home Minister for barring it from using the word “Allah” as part of conditions for getting a publishing permit.

Pakiam is officially the Herald’s publisher.

The Home Ministry has successfully applied for a stay of execution in the ruling pending an appeal.

Below are excerpts highlighting the main disputes.

On why the Home Minister’s ban is illegal

For more read here.

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