Irshad Manji book: Borders fails to stay Jawi’s action
KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — The owner of Borders bookstores, Berjaya Books Sdn Bhd, and its two employees, today failed in their bid to get a stay of the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department’s (Jawi) action over the seizure of Irshad Manji’s controversial book from one of the branches.
High Court Judge Datuk Rohana Yusuf dismissed the application in chambers.
The application for the stay was by Berjaya Books Sdn Bhd, Borders general manager of operations and merchandising, Stephen Fung Wye Keong, and store manager at The Gardens in Mid Valley City, Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz.
Counsel Rosli Dahlan is representing the three applicants, while senior federal counsel Nor Hisham Ismail acted for the respondents, namely, Jawi, the minister of home affairs and the minister in the prime minister’s department in charge of Islamic Religious Affairs.
Rosli told reporters that the judge also advised the applicants to go to the Syariah High Court to obtain the stay order.
He would also file an appeal at the Court of Appeal against the court’s refusal over the stay application, he added.
On June 25, Berjaya Books and its two employees had obtained leave for a judicial review from the High Court to challenge the seizure of the book by Jawi.
In the leave application, the three are seeking, among other things, a certiorari order to quash the decision by Jawi officers in raiding, searching and seizing Irshad Manji’s books, “Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta” and “Allah, Liberty and Love” on May 23 at the Borders bookstore at The Gardens Mall in Mid Valley City.
They are also seeking a certiorari order to quash a decision to prosecute Nik Raina at the Syariah High Court for distributing the book.
Nik Raina was charged on June 19, with distributing and selling the book, said to contravene Islamic law, at the bookstore between 8.41pm and 9.45pm on May 23.
Meanwhile, in a similar case, Justice Rohana granted an interim stay to ZI Publication and its director, Mohd Ezra Mohd Zaid, to prevent the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) from investigating and prosecuting Mohd Ezra over the seizure of 180 books of Irshad Manji’s “Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta”.
Counsel Nizam Bashir, representing ZI Publication and Mohd Ezra, told reporters that with this outcome, the Syariah Court could not charge Mohd Ezra, who had been asked to present himself before the Syariah Lower Court tomorrow, until the disposal of inter-parte stay.
He said the judge also granted leave for a judicial review filed by them.
The court set September 5 for a joint hearing of the two applications for judicial review filed by Berjaya Books and ZI Publication.
On July 9, the two had filed leave applications, naming Jais, its director-general, Selangor Religious Department enforcement chief, Selangor Syarie prosecution chief, the Selangor government and the Malaysian government as respondents.
Among other things, they applied for an order of certiorari to quash the action by Jais officers, who raided and confiscated 180 books on May 29, at ZI Publications located at B-2-19, Merchant Square, Jalan Tropicana Selatan 1, PJU 3, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
They also applied for a certiorari order to quash an arrest on May 29, and the prosecution of Mohd Ezra by Jais.
They also sought for a declaration that Section 16 of the Syariah Criminal Enactment (Selangor) 1995, regarding investigations on Mohd Ezra, was null and void as it was inconsistent with Article 10(1)(a) and 8(1) of the Federal Constitution. — Bernama