|Borders’ grounds for challenging Jawi|
|Tuesday, 26 June 2012 08:39am|
©The Sun Daily (Used by permission)
by Pauline Wong
KUALA LUMPUR (June 25, 2012): The actions of the Federal Territories Religious Department (Jawi) in raiding and searching the premises of two Borders bookstores here are being challenged on the grounds that it is ultra vires the Federal Constitution and other federal laws.
Berjaya Books Sdn Bhd, which owns Borders in Malaysia, has cited issues of jurisdiction between the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) 1984 and the Syariah Offences Act.
It is understood that Borders will be challenging Jawi’s raid of its premises for the controversial book Allah, Liberty and Love, on grounds that the Syariah Offences Act cannot legislate on matters of the PPPA.
Furthermore, Borders will be raising the procedural impropriety in which Jawi officials raided the store for copies of the book, six days prior to a gazetting on its ban by the Home Ministry. Jawi officials had raided and questioned Borders staff at the Bangsar Village 2 and Midvalley The Gardens outlets on May 23 and 24, but the book was not banned until May 29, while the gazette was published only three weeks later – on June 14.
Prior to the banning, there was no fatwa or edict issued by Jawi on the book by Canadian author Irshad Manji, nor was there any notification, announcement or declaration that Jawi objected to the book.
The company will also be challenging Jawi’s prosecution of Borders store manager Nik Raina Nik Aziz, who was charged in the Syariah Court on June 19 for distributing by selling the book at the Borders store at The Gardens mall.
However, Borders had previously issued a statement that Nik Raina neither owned nor was responsible for the sale of the book, and was merely doing her job as store manager.
She was charged under Section 13 (1) of the Syariah Criminal Offences Act (Federal Territories) 1997 which carries a fine of up to RM3,000 or two years’ jail, or both, upon conviction.
Borders will argue that it is wrongful and mala fide (bad faith) for Jawi to be prosecuting Nik Raina, just because Jawi cannot prosecute the company or her superior, Borders general manager Stephen Fung, because they are non-Muslims and not subject to syariah law.
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