Last nail in Catholic Church’s ‘Allah’ case as Federal Court again says no


(Malay Mail Online) – The Federal Court has again rejected the Catholic Church’s bid for the apex court to hear its appeal on its constitutional right to use the word “Allah”, marking an end to remaining legal avenues in the case.

The decision was made unanimously by the five-judge panel that was hearing the application today.

The legal dispute has been in the courts for the last five years after the Home Ministry banned the publication of the word “Allah” in the Catholic Church’s weekly paper Herald’s Bahasa Malaysia section in 2007.

In the long trek to today’s review hearing, the Catholic Church first tasted victory when it won its case in a landmark High Court ruling in 2009. But when the matter was later brought before the Court of Appeal, the ruling was overturned.

The church then filed for leave to appeal the appellate court’s decision, but this was rejected in a narrow 4-3 decision at the Federal Court on June 23 last year.

The Catholic Church’s lawyers applied last September for a rare review of the Federal Court’s refusal to hear its appeal, arguing that there was “procedural unfairness” and that it had decided on legal issues not raised by any of the parties involved in the case.

The Catholic Church also argued that its case was an important constitutional issue, especially on the rights of minorities in Malaysia but claimed the Federal Court had failed to answer key constitutional questions including Article 3 and Article 11.

There was light police presence outside the Federal Court today and a small part of the entrance was cordoned off, but no protesters were spotted.