‘Allah’ CD case: Bid to cross-examine Syed Hamid dismissed
KUALA LUMPUR, July 12 — The High Court dismissed today Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill’s application to cross-examine former Home Minister Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar for issuing orders to confiscate her religious CDs three years ago.
Justice Rohana Yusof, who made the decision in chambers today, allowed a preliminary objection by Syed Hamid (picture) and the government on the ground that the application was filed out of time.
Ireland’s counsel, Annou Xavier and Lim Heng Seng, filed for an application to cross-examine the former home minister and a Customs officer, Suzanah Muin, who confiscated the eight CDs.
They had filed the application 15 months after leave to initiate judicial review proceedings had been granted.
Rohana said opportunities to cross-examine witnesses were normally granted in “rare cases” and that this case does not fall in that category.
She ruled that Syed Hamid’s affidavit was sufficient for use in the trial as the CDs were seized to maintain national security.
It also states a 1986 Cabinet directive which bans the use of four words, including the word “Allah”.
Jill filed her application on August 20, 2008 and was granted leave to seek judicial review of the Home Ministry’s decision on May 4, 2009.
The Melanau Christian is challenging the ministry’s decision to confiscate eight of her CDs which contain the word “Allah.”
Jill is seeking an order of certiorari to quash the ministry’s decision to seize the CDs, and a mandamus order directing the minister to return the CDs.
She is also seeking a declaration that she has the legitimate expectation to exercise the right to use the word “Allah” and to continue to own and import such materials.
The disputed materials were confiscated from Jill’s possession after she disembarked at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal in Sepang on May 11, 2008 upon returning from a trip to Indonesia.
The CD titles include “Cara Hidup Dalam Kerajaan Allah”, “Cara Menggunakan Kunci Kerajaan Allah”, “Ibadah Yang Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah” and “Hidup Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah”.
Jill had contended that she uses the word “Allah” in her prayers, worship and religious education, and that the CDs were for personal consumption.
Rohana has fixed August 17 for case management and to allocate dates of hearing.