Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lina Joy's Case - CJ Asks For Time.

Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim said the Federal Court needed some time to deliver the judgement in Lina Joy's case which is considered sensitive.

He said the quorum headed by him had to carefully look at the submissions given by so many parties including the non-governmental organisations in the appeal which was heard early July this year. "Coming soon (the decision) we have to have some time. We cannot rush this thing. You must also remember that there were three judges who heard the appeal," he said. The Chief Justice said more time was also needed to enable the quorum to write their reasons.

Ahmad Fairuz was responding to questions that there were rumours being spread via the short messaging service (sms) giving a specific date that the court would deliver their decision, as well as, rumours that the Federal Court had decided in favour of Lina Joy. The court had reserved their decision on July 4 after hearing submissions from parties in the appeal.

Lina, 42, whose birth name is Azlina Jailani, is appealing against the Court of Appeal's dismissal of her application to delete the word "Islam" from her identity card.

Her appeal to the Court of Appeal was rejected on Sept 19, last year, in a 2-1 majority decision, to reverse the High Court decision disallowing her application to delete the word "Islam" from her identity card on the grounds that her renunciation of Islam was not confirmed by the Syariah Court or any other Islamic religious authority. On April 23 2001,the High Court had ruled that being a Muslim, Lina, could not renounce Islam and that the issue should be decided by the Syariah Court.

In the suit, Lina named the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Council, the Malaysian Government and the National Registration Department (NRD) Director-General Datuk Wan Ibrahim Wan Ahmad as respondents.

On Feb 2 1997, Lina had applied to the NRD to change her name on the grounds that she no longer professed Islam and had accepted the Christian faith. The application was rejected by the NRD on Aug 11 1997. Her second application to the NRD to change her name to Lina Joy was approved and the NRD asked her to apply for a new IC.



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