Christian CDs case: No to cross-exam of Syed Hamid

Jill Ireland's application to cross-examine former Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar, for issuing orders to confiscate religious CDs three years ago, has been dismissed by the Appellate and Special Powers Division of the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

Justice Rohana Yusof, who made the decision in chambers today, allowed a preliminary objection by Syed Hamid and the government on the ground that the application was filed out of time.

Ireland's lawyer had filed the application 15 months after leave (permission) to initiate judicial review proceedings had been granted.

Justice Rohana said opportunities to cross-examine witnesses is normally granted in "rare cases". "However, this case does not fall in that category," she said.

She also ruled that Syed Hamid's affidavit is sufficient for use in the trial as it states that the CDs were seized to maintain national security and public order. It also states a 1986 cabinet directive on words that cannot be used by non-Muslims.

The CDs which were imported from Indonesia had been seized by the Customs Department and the home ministry because it has the word 'Allah'.

The court has fixed Aug 17 for case management and to allocate dates of hearing.

Senior federal counsel Arik Sanusi Yeop Johari, Azizan Md Arshad, and Andi Razali Jaya represented the government.

Lawyer Annou Xavier represented Ireland.

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