KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 17: The High Court yesterday dismissed a Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) Sabah church’s bid to find out why the government banned the word “Allah” in non-Muslims’ publications, saying such government information is classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1972, reported The Malay Mail.
Lawyer Annou Xavier who represented the church, confirmed that High Court judge Datuk Nor Bee Ariffin had dismissed his client’s application for discovery of documents.
He added the other reason was due to the court finding it unnecessary for the documents to be disclosed under judicial review application.
Senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan said the judge felt the existing evidence already submitted to the court was adequate for it to decide on the church’s lawsuit against the government and the Home Ministry, also noting that it felt it is for the government to declassify such information.
“The court said that it is not in a position to ask us to reveal it because it is only for the maker to declassify, not for the court.
“But in this case it is only issue of discovery, so the court feels that discovery in judicial review ― these documents are not necessary. You can go by way of the evidence given as well as the documents which has been tendered, that is sufficient for the court to decide,” he was reported as telling reporters.
The SIB church had last month sought two sets of documents, including documents such as letters and meetings minutes containing the reasons for the government’s 1986 ban of the word “Allah” in non-Muslim publications; documents showing confusion among Malaysians or misunderstanding between Muslims and Christians over the use of the word “Allah” in Bahasa Malaysia Christian publications; or showing threats to public order due to non-Muslims’ use of the term.
The second set of documents sought was for those where the government had granted approval to import, publish, produce, distribute or own any Christian publications with the word “Allah”. — DayakDaily