High Court Orders Return Of “Allah” CDs

The High Court today ordered the eight “Allah” CDs which the Home Ministry confiscated more than six years ago to be returned to clerk Jill Ireland.

Kuala Lumpur High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Zaleha Yusof quashed the Home Minister’s decision to seize the religious CDs on the grounds that the CDs used prohibited terms and breached Malaysia Islamic Development Department (Jakim) guidelines.

She also ordered the CDs returned to the owner.However, Justice Zaleha only allowed for two of the 11 demands in Jill Ireland’s judicial review, and ordered the ministry to pay her RM500 in costs.

In her judgement, Justice Zaleha said it was clear a senior authorised officer could only seize materials pending a decision of the minister, although there was no provision for the minister to delegate power to a subordinate.

She found that in this case, the decision was made by Customs Superintendent Suzanah Muin (the officer who allegedly seized the CDs from Jill Ireland) but not by then-Home Minister Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar himself.

“I agree that the order was obtained ultra vires and that the respondent is guilty of error of law,” said Justice Zaleha.

Jill Ireland, 33, had on May 4, 2009 obtained leave from the court to challenge the Home Minister’s decision to seize her eight CDs that contained the word “Allah”.

On May 11, 2008, the ministry seized the CDs under Section 9 (1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 when Jill disembarked at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal in Sepang.

The CDs, containing titles including Cara Menggunakan Kunci Kerajaan Allah, Cara Hidup Dalam Kerajaan Allah and Ibadah Yang Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah, were brought from Indonesia.

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