Hornbill Unleashed

July 12, 2014

Leave denied in Herald seizure case

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
Tags: , , , , ,

Malaysia Allah BanJoe Fernandez

The lawyers argued that they should have been granted leave so that the merits of their case can be heard.

The High Court of Sabah and Sarawak in Kota Kinabalu this morning denied leave to two plaintiffs, an activist and a lawyer, to apply for leave for Judicial Review against the seizure of 2,000 copies of the Herald, the Catholic weekly, on 26 October last year at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

Daniel John Jambun, the President of the UK-based human rights NGO, Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (BoPIM) and senior Sabah lawyer Marcel Jude Joseph applied for leave to file the Judicial Review.

Judge Ravinthran N. Paramaguru, in denying leave, said that the issue was not lively, indeed academic, since the seized copies had been subsequently released.

Counsel Tengku Fuad Ahmad for Daniel disagreed that the seizure was no longer a lively issue and to argue it would be academic.

What his client was also arguing, according to Fuad, was that the seizure was unlawful and he wanted a declaration to that effect to prevent any such seizures of the Herald in Sabah.

Marcel was represented by counsel Nur Rafeeqa.

Outside the Court, Daniel said that he had instructed his lawyer to write in for the written ruling and file an appeal against it. “I believe that the Judge erred in law and on facts,” said Daniel. “We should have been granted leave so that the merits of our case can be heard.”

He also pointed out that the Home Minister did not offer to apologise nor undertake to give a pledge that there won’t be any seizures in future of the Herald in Sabah.

In the copies that was seized, the word ‘Allah’ appeared in three articles. The first article, titled ‘Uskup Bumiputera seru jangan takut guna “Allah”! (Bumiputera Bishop urges no fear in using “Allah”)’, was a pastoral letter written by a Bishop.
The second and third, were sourced from online news portals.

The Federal Court ruled on 23 June that the Court of Appeal was merely expressing an opinion, obiter dictum, when it said late last year that “Allah was not integral to the Christian faith”.

The Court of Appeal’s decision on ‘Allah’ was not precedent, not binding, not law, the Federal Court ruled in denying leave to the Herald, in an earlier application filed by the Church.

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