KUALA LUMPUR, Apr 21 – The High Court has allowed two religious councils to submit expert opinions on the use of the word “Allah” in a case by Sarawakian clerk Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill.
In judicial review proceedings, Bill contends that she has the constitutional right to import publications with the word “Allah” to practise her religion and the right to education.
High Court judge Justice Nor Bee Ariffin set June 19 to hear the judicial review proper.
Speaking to reporters after the parties met the judge in chambers Friday, lawyer for the two councils IIyani Noor Khuszairy said the judge allowed them to forward the expert opinions to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) for consideration in their affidavits.
She said this is because the two councils – the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS) and the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) – were earlier only allowed to be amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the case.
IIyani said the AGC had also filed an affidavit on expert opinions over the use of the word “Allah” quoting Universiti Malaya Islamic Studies Academy’s Associate Professor Dr Khadijah Mohd Khambali and Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia senior fellow Dr Mohd Sani Badron.
“We are getting other experts in different fields of Islamic jurisprudence,” she said, adding that the judge had directed them to prepare the expert opinions and submit them to the AGC for their consideration.
Co-counsel for the councils Fakhrul Azman Abu Hassan confirmed the details.
Bill is represented in the case by Annou Xavier.
On May 4, 2009, Bill obtained leave from the High Court to challenge the Home Minister’s decision to seize eight CDs that contained the word “Allah”.
In her application for judicial review, she sought to quash the minister’s decision to seize the CDs at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal on May 11, 2008, and for the return of her CDs.