By : Irdiani Mohd Salleh
NST, May 14 2009
The word 'keling' in Kamus Dewan is permissible, the High Court ruled today.
It accordingly dismissed an appeal by the
Selangor and Federal Territory Angkatan Pelopor Islam Muslim (Apim)
against the decision made by Senior Assistant Registrar Nik Isfahanie
Tasnim Wan Abdul Rahman on Dec 29, 2003 which struck out a civil suit
over the use of the word.
Judge Lau Bee Lan said today the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) was
only carrying out its statutory duty by inserting the word in the third
edition of the dictionary.
She said Article 8 (2) of the Federal Constitution did not cover organisations but only individuals.
Article 8 (2) of the Federal Constitution provides that there shall be
no discrimination against citizens on the ground of religion, race,
descent, place of birth or gender.
Lau made the decision in her chambers.
DBP was represented by Md Radzi Mustafa and V. Priya Dharsini Narr appeared for Apim.
Apim filed the suit on July 30, 2003, seeking to get the word 'keling'
dropped from Kamus Dewan and from the names of villages, buildings,
resorts and roads as it claimed the word was shameful, insulting and
degrading to the Indian Muslim community.
It also sought a
declaration that the DBP had failed in its statutory duty and
responsibility when it allowed the use of the word keling and its
variant meanings and metaphor in the dictionary.
Apim filed the
suit naming its president Ramli @ Mohd Othman Ravinthranathan as the
first plaintiff and Apim the second plaintiff.