Malaysia

Lay off, lawyers for Muslim dog handler warn Jakim

BY ELIZABETH ZACHARIAH
August 03, 2013
Latest Update: August 04, 2013 03:43 am

Lawyers for the Muslim dog handler have expressed shock at what Jakim had to say about the controversy, calling it “unlawful”.

Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom announced that Jakim has found that the YouTube clip of Maznah Mohd Yusof and her three dogs which went viral online was insulting to Muslims.

He had directed the Muslim authority to relay its findings to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) for further action.

Maznah's lawyers, Latheefa Koya and N. Surendran, responded that Jakim had no authority to issue such a statement, noting that it had brazenly and unlawfully interfered with the judiciary system.

They criticised Jamil Khir for supporting Jakim's stand on the issue and for threatening to go to the MCMC with their declaration, saying that his actions showed that he was "ignorant and indifferent" to the roles of Jakim.

"Jakim has acted beyond its authority and in excess of its jurisdiction," they said in a statement today.

Latheefa (left) and Surendran say Jakim has acted beyond its authority. The Malaysian Insider picLatheefa (left) and Surendran say Jakim has acted beyond its authority. The Malaysian Insider picThey pointed out that Jakim's declaration is equivalent to finding Maznah guilty for posting the video.

"In this country only the judiciary has the power to pronounce the guilt or innocence of a citizen," they said, adding that Jakim was merely an administrative body with no powers to make such a statement.

Calling for an end to the attacks on their client, Latheefa and Surendran warned that they would be taking the "necessary action" to protect Maznah's rights.

Maznah,  better known as Chetz, found herself in hot soup after the three-year-old video clip caused a stir among Muslims.

She was arrested on Thursday and was released yesterday after being held at the Segamat police station and is being investigated under the Penal Code for causing disharmony among religions. - August 3, 2013