MACC on Trial: Let the truth prevail!


April 11, 2015

MACC on Trial: Let the truth prevail!

by Din Merican

Free Malaysia Today (FMT) has been running the story on the Trial of Rosli Dahlan against Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and its officials which link provided below and the story is reproduced below in full:

Witness: MACC can be overzealous, unprofessional

Rosli Dahlan (new)

source:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/04/11/witness-macc-can-be-overzealous-unprofessional/

What is startling to me, and perhaps  to other readers of this blog, is that we first have an ex- Advisory member of the MACC Tan Sri Robert Phang revealing that the MACC is not independent and has been used by the A-G Gani Patail to fix trumped-up charges against Lawyer Rosli Dahlan.

Then we have ex-DPP Shamsul Sulaiman revealing more of A-G Gani Pataiil’s abuses in using the MACC to keep victimising Rosli. The fact that Shamsul was warned to stay away from the case shows the level of fear permeating within the A-G Chambers and the MACC of the A-G’s awesome powers. It became more glaring when ex-DPP Shamsul had to even seek the court’s protection that the evidence he gives in court should not be used to later persecute him. This is  even more worrisome.

It is troubling when witnesses are afraid to tell the truth in court for fear that the A-G would later charge them. Apparently, this had happened to Brig-Gen Dato Yassin when he gave evidence in the Kota Kinabalu Sessions Court before Judge Supang Lian. After giving evidence favoring Dato Ramli, Dato Yassin was charged. Readers will recall that Dato Ramli Yusuff was acquitted after Judge Supang Lian found that then IGP Musa Hassan had lied. Strangely, Musa was not charged for being an incredible witness whose evidence is to be disregarded.

It is scary to see the same scenario unfolding in Rosli’s trial. If witnesses feel intimidated and are fearful for their safety, then they will be afraid to tell the truth. Then the truth will never be known. Is that why we never get to know the truth of who killed Teoh Beng Hock? Is that why we never know who killed Ahmad Sarbaini?

The MACC has to account for these two deaths ‎but until now no one has been brought to book. In Ahmad Sarbaini’s case, the MACC could conveniently erase the CCTV recording of the events and the great Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah dismissed it as just an accidental erasure.

Lawyer Rosli Dahlan was fortunate that he was locked up in the dungeon of the MACC, otherwise he might also have been another dead body thrown off the MACC’s building!

I am worried for Rosli that if this intimidating tactic of the A-G and counsel Tan Sri Cecil Abraham are allowed to continue, then no witnesses will come forward to tell the truth. Then Rosli’s case will fail and we will never get to know of this conspiracy. No wonder, cases of this nature always fail.

I say to the MACC and the A-G, fight fairly. Don’t intimidate witnesses. Don’t frighten them. Let the truth prevail!

Rosli Dahlan Vs MACC– Witness: MACC can be overzealous, unprofessional


April 11, 2015

Witness: MACC can be overzealous, unprofessional

Court grants ex-DPP Shamsul Sulaiman immunity from prosecution in lawyer’s suit against MACC.

Rosli DKUALA LUMPUR: Stunning circumstances formed the basis on which former Deputy Public Prosecutor Shamsul Sulaiman gave evidence in court yesterday in the on-going trial of Rosli Dahlan’s suit against the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) and the Government of Malaysia.The case is being heard before Justice Su Geok Yiam in the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

Addressing his concern that his evidence may be self-incriminatory, Shamsul told the presiding judge, “I am now concerned after testifying in court [that] my statement will be used against me.” Section 132(1) of the Evidence Act, 1950 provides that a witness is not excused from answering questions on the ground that the answers will incriminate him.

The Court, however, exercised its power under Section 132(2) to compel Shamsul to answer, thereby granting him immunity from arrest or prosecution in respect of the content of his evidence.

During his testimony, Shamsul told the Court that Rosli and he were good friends from their days together at the International Islamic University and that the relationship had continued throughout their working careers.

He said that upon being issued with notices to declare his assets, Rosli discussed the matter with him, raising various issues which troubled him about the contents and effect of the notices. Shamsul said that he sought clarification on the notices with DPP Anthony Kevin Morais who issued the notices, and Nordin Hassan the then head of ACA’s prosecution unit.

Kevin Morais

Anthony Kevin Morais (above)

“I was advised to stay away from the case as they were taking orders directly from the Attorney-General,” his witness statement read. “I kept my peace within Chambers from then on, all the while disappointed that senior officers of the organisation which I was serving for so long did not behave in what I thought should be the professional way we ought to.

He went on to testify that two days before Hari Raya in 2007, he received two calls from Rosli. In the first call Rosli informed him that ACA officers had turned up requesting that he accompany them to their office to record a statement.

“He told me that he managed to negotiate with the officers to postpone the recording of the statement….., but at the back of his mind he was concerned and had the feeling that the officers would come back to arrest him.

“A couple of hours later, Rosli called me again in a very short and anxious call to tell me that the ACA officers were back and had announced to his office that they were looking for him to arrest him,” his statement went on.

According to Shamsul, he later found out that Rosli had been arrested that day and made arrangements to be present with Rosli’s wife at the ACA Headquarters that night.

Upon arriving at the ACA office, Shamsul joined Rosli’s wife and two other lawyers, Chetan and Harvey.

We just waited”.

“As we waited, I telephoned DPP Anthony Kevin Morais who told me that the investigators were going to let Rosli go once they finished recording his statement.

“Time passed slowly. As midnight approached we saw officers leaving and we thought our wait would be over soon. The officers left quite hurriedly and it seemed to me that they were avoiding us,” Shamsul testified further.

Calls to enquire went unanswered and security guards at the front desk were unhelpful.“We received no cooperation from them except to be told that we should just leave,” he added.

They eventually did. The next morning, he was surprised to find that Rosli had been brought by ACA to the courtroom via the public corridor instead of through the lock-up lifts system.

Noting that they had opted not to access the courtroom via the complex’s more private passageways as would usually be done in criminal cases, he added, “I have come to learn that the ACA are in the habit of parading the persons whom they prosecute, having tipped off the media who will turn up in full force.”

The next day, on Hari Raya morning, the newspapers carried news of Rosli being charged with large photographs on their front pages.

“I felt outraged at what I thought was unfair timing of (their) action,” he testified.He said that the whole experience had made Rosli a bitter, lethargic and dejected man who had lost confidence in the legal system to the extent of wanting to cease practice.

“Although he spoke well of his firm and partners throughout the ordeal, I sensed the pressure that Rosli’s prosecution had brought on the firm and I thought there almost came a time when [his] firm saw him as a liability,” he added.

Shamsul testified that he was in Court when Rosli was acquitted. The Sessions Court had ruled that he was not Ramli’s associate and was not within the category of persons who were required to declare their assets, he added.

These were the very questions for which Rosli had sought clarification from the ACA in the first place, Shamsul claimed.

Abdul Razak MusaHe said that subsequently, MACC’s Director of Prosecutions Abdul Razak Musa (left) sought his help to contact Rosli discreetly to set up a meeting to explore a possibility of settling Rosli’s suit. A meeting was eventually held between the two in Shamsul’s presence but no deal was struck, he testified.

He said that the prosecution’s appeal against Rosli’s acquittal was eventually withdrawn on the morning of the hearing.

“It was hard to see a close friend suffer at the hands of people whom I consider also friends,” Shamsul said in his Witness Statement.

“MACC can be overzealous to the extent of behaving unprofessionally,” he added.Under cross-examination by MACC’s counsel Cecil Abraham, Shamsul denied that his role in the episode placed him in a position of conflict of interest.

The trial continues.

Why is MACC and Abu Kassim so dishonorable in the Trial of Rosli Dahlan?


April 6, 2015

READ THIS:

http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/294390

Breaking News! Why is MACC and Abu Kassim so dishonorable in the Trial of Rosli Dahlan?

by Din Merican

 Abu KassimTake Responsibility and Apologise

This morning‎, the trial of Rosli Dahlan against Utusan Malaysia, the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission and 15 Other Defendants was supposed to start before High Court Judge Datuk Su Geok Yam. The courtroom was packed with reporters, Rosli’s wife and family and MACC officers. Also seen were Dato Ramli Yusuff and Tan Sri Robert Phang.

Judge Su noted that a majority of the Defendants including Chief Commissioner Tan Sri Abu Kassim and Kevin Morais, the source of all these problems, were absent. Instead the MACC appeared through 6 counsels including 2 paralegals. The most notable was that MACC is no longer represented by the Attorney General Chambers but by private senior lawyer Tan Sri Cecil Abraham.

Now, that’s an expensive switch! In a turn of events, counsel for Utusan Malaysia informed the court that they want to settle the case and want to make a public apology to Rosli Dahlan in open court. ‎ This is great!

Utusan has crumbled even before the trial starts. Judge Su invited Rosli to come forward and sit in one of the counsel’s chairs while Rosli’s wife, family and friends then listened attentively to senior Legal Manager ‎ and company secretary of Utusan Encik Shirad Anwar reading the following public apology in open court: “

1.On  October 12, 2007, while the Muslim community were preparing to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri, we had published a news article about the arrest and prosecution of Lawyer Rosli Dahlan with the title “Police Lawyer failed to declare asset charged in court today” (“the Article”)

2. Shortly after the publication of the Article, upon demand by Lawyer Rosli Dahlan, we had among others, on  April 15, 2008, published at page 4 of Utusan Malaysia newspaper, an unconditional and unreserved Public Apology to Lawyer Rosli Dahlan (hereinafter referred to as the said Public Apology”), the contents of which are as follows.

3. That we had made several allegations which were untrue against Lawyer Rosli Dahlan as follows:

3.1. That he is a Singapore citizen who carries out legal practice in Malaysia, whereas he is truly and indeed a Malaysian citizen;

3.2. That he has breached the laws of the country by refusing to make an asset declaration, whereas he had indeed made the said declaration;

3.3. That he had hidden the asset of a Senior Police Officer who was under investigation by the ACA (Anti-Corruption Agency), whereas he never did that;

3.4. That he is of malevolent character and had acted deceptively in his dealings to frustrate the ACA investigations, whereas he had always fully co-operated with the ACA and his actions were always within the requirements of the law.

3.5 Our said article has given a totally wrong depiction of Lawyer Rosli Dahlan as a foreign lawyer who had acted in a manner contrary to the proper behaviour and ethics of an advocate and solicitor.

3.6 We acknowledge and expressed our deepest regrets that the said article was written and published in a sensational manner to generate publicity which exceeded the parameters of ethical journalism surrounding the investigation of YDH Dato’ Pahlawan Haji Ramli Haji Yusuff who at that time held the post of Director of the Commercial Crime Investigation Department of Police Di-Raja Malaysia.

4. We hereby again, upon request and with the consent and express agreement of lawyer Rosli Dahlan, repeat the contents of the said Public Apology referred to above and hereby again unconditionally and unreservedly apologise to lawyer Rosli Dahlan for our said untruthful article and we regret the damage that we have caused to him.

5. We further acknowledge that lawyer Rosli Dahlan has been conclusively discharged and acquitted by the court from all charges made against him by the ACA which is now known as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

The question on everyone’s mind is why then is MACC not apologising? Why waste taxpayers’ money engaging expensive Cecil Abraham to defend a wrong that was committed to an innocent professional? I say to MACC – be honorable. Own up, apologise and pay up! Don’t waste the Courts’ time and taxpayers’ money to defend yourself.

Nik Raina: Free At Last


February 26, 2015

Nik Raina: Free At Last

by Jennifer Gomez@www.themalaysianinsider.com

Nik Raina Nik Abdul AzizNik Raina of Borders

Borders Bookstore Manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz said that legal battle with Islamic authorities over a charge of selling and distributing a book deemed to be against Islam had changed her and made her realise her larger role to ensure other Muslims are not harassed for doing their jobs.

Given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal by the Shariah High Court today, Nik Raina said she had been a shy and reserved person before the raid on May 23, 2012 on the bookstore where she worked, but her ordeal had turned her into a more outspoken person.

Along the way, she realised that she had a role to play in facing up to the charges against her.Nik Raina said most of the management staff at Borders are Muslims, and she feared they could be subject to the same intimidation if she did not stand up for her rights in facing the charges.

“I stand here today not only for myself, but for all my colleagues, especially the Muslims Irshad Manjiwho could face the same action by the religious authorities for merely doing our jobs,” she said outside the court today.

Nik Raina had been charged with selling and distributing the book “Allah, Liberty and Love” by controversial Muslim writer Irshad Manji (right).

The Borders employee said she drew comfort from the company’s top management, adding that Berjaya Group founder Tan Sri Vincent Tan would always tell her when they met at company events, “Do not be afraid”.

Nik Raina said she would never forget these words, which were also repeated to her by Tan’s son, Datuk Robin Tan, after he took over his father’s portfolio in the group.

“He would tell me what his father used to say to me, to not be afraid, that I have done nothing wrong,” she said.Still, Nik Raina never imagined when she took this job over seven years ago that she would get into this much of trouble.

Yet, even after the ordeal, there was nowhere else she would rather work because she felt it was “right” to be working with Borders, she said as she fought back tears.

“From the first day I had my interview with them, it felt like the right place to be, because the interviewers were so welcoming.I would not want to be anywhere else,” she said.

Nik Raina said she felt that the Shariah prosecutor’s submission in court today, where he had told the Judge that the pressure she faced was not his problem, was as though his main intention was to punish her.

Rosli Dahlan (new)Nik Raina’s “Best Lawyer Ever”

This was after her lawyer, Rosli Dahlan, submitted that Nik Raina faced anguish and pressure in having this case hanging over her head for the past three years. “He could so easily say that I went the wrong way and so it was my problem.But he did not put himself in my shoes. And what about the anguish faced by my family, especially my father, who has been so worried about this case?” she said.

Nik Raina was equally emotional when she spoke about the support from Rosli.”He is the best lawyer ever”.

Release Nik Raina from this Persecution !


February 24, 2015

COMMENT: It has been 3 years since JAWI raided the Borders Bookstore at Mid-Valley, Kuala Lumpur. I have been writing since it first came to light in 2012 about the plight of Nik Raina who was accused of selling Irshad Manji’s book,”Allah, Liberty and Love”

I wanted to tell the Malaysian public that Nik Raina was denied her freedom to get on with her life and work by overzealous religious functionaries despite the fact that both the High Court and the Court of Appeal had ruled that the raid on Borders Bookstore was wrongful and illegal.

There is, therefore, no justification to charge Nik Raina Section under Section 13 (1) of the Shariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act. Instead, the Shariah Court should exercise its judicial discretion under Section 96 (g)‎ of the Shariah Criminal Procedure (Federal Territories) Act 1997 to discharge her.

Rosli and Borders1Lawyer Rosli with the Borders Team
I wish to congratulate Borders Malaysia for standing up for its employee and thank Lawyer Rosli Dahlan (above) for doing an excellent job on behalf of Nik Raina and her employer. Let us hope that good sense and justice will prevail on February 26, 2015. –Din Merican
image
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEStatement by the COO of Berjaya Books Sdn Bhd, Yau Su PengRELEASE NIK RAINA FROM THIS PERSECUTION!Kuala Lumpur
24 February 2015

1. On 23rd May 2012, enforcement officers of Jabatan Agama Islam Wilayah (‘JAWI’) raided Borders bookstore, seized several books and examined Borders’ Muslim and non-Muslim employees.

2. On 19th June 2012, Borders’ Muslim store manager, Nik Raina binti Nik Abdul Aziz, was charged in the syariah court, for an offence of distributing publication that is offensive to Islam under section 13 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act 1997. Since then Nik Raina has been on bail and is required to appear in the Syariah Court whenever ordered to do so.

3. On 22nd March 2013, the Kuala Lumpur High Court declared that the raid on Borders and the prosecution of Nik Raina were wrongful and illegal.

4. On 2nd April 2013, the Ketua Pendakwa Syarie of JAWI filed an appeal against the order of High Court. Thereafter, since 7th October 2013 the Syariah Court has postponed the syariah proceedings until JAWI’s appeal in the Court of Appeal is disposed.

5. On 30th December 2014, the Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed JAWI’s appeal and upheld the High Court’s judgment that the enforcement actions against Borders and the prosecution against Nik Raina were wrongful and illegal.

6. On 31st December 2014, solicitors for Borders wrote to the Ketua Pendakwa Syarie of JAWI and the Syariah Court requesting for the syariah criminal charge to be withdrawn in view of the judgment by the Court of Appeal. The Ketua Pendakwa Syarie did not reply to Borders’ solicitors.

7. By a notice dated 12th January 2015, the Syariah Court fixed the syariah criminal proceeding for mention on 26th February 2015.

8. The management of Berjaya Books Sdn Bhd, as the owner of Borders Bookstores, calls for an end and a closure to the criminal proceedings against Nik Raina. It has been three years since this incident happened. It has been three years since Nik Raina lost her absolute freedom to become a person who is currently under bail. It has been three years that Nik Raina has had to endure adversities in her life including being looked upon with suspicion by the Muslim community. Much cost and expense have been incurred to defend Nik Raina in the Syariah Court and to protect her rights guaranteed under the Federal Constitution in the civil courts.

9. Since then two superior courts, namely, the High Court of Malaya and the Court of Appeal have delivered clear pronouncements that JAWI’s actions and the prosecution against Nik Raina were wrongful and illegal. It is time that this matter is put to rest. It is time that the Syariah Court exercise its judicial discretion under section 96 (g) of the Syariah Criminal Procedure (Federal Territories) Act 1997 to discharge Nik Raina. There are clear and settled judicial precedents that empower the Syariah Court to do so. Section 96(g) of the Syariah Criminal Procedure (Federal Territories) Act 1997 (which is a reproduction of s.173(g) of the Criminal Procedure Code) provides:

“ s. 96(g) – nothing in paragraph (f) shall be deemed to prevent the Court from discharging the accused at any previous stage of the case if for reasons to be recorded by the Court it considers the charge to be groundless.”

10. The two judgments of the High Court and the Court of Appeal mean that the current syariah criminal charge against Nik Raina is groundless. It is to be noted that there has been no stay of execution against the two judgments which means that they are effective and must be complied with at all times. It is to be noted that JAWI has only filed a motion for leave to appeal to the Federal Court. JAWI has not obtained that leave and as a matter of fact there is no appeal pending. Even if JAWI wish to preserve its position, there is no legal justification for the syariah proceedings to be prolonged.

11. Therefore, when this matter is called before the Syariah Court on 26th February 2015, there is no basis either for the Ketua Pendakwa Syarie of JAWI or the Syariah Court to postpone this matter any further. At the very least, Nik Raina should be released by way of a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA). In that manner, Nik Raina’s freedom and personal liberty can be duly restored and neither JAWI nor anyone else will suffer any prejudice.

12. The Board of Directors and Management of Berjaya Books Sdn Bhd implore the Ketua Pendakwa Syarie and the Syariah Court to act in consonant with constitutional principles and the Rule of Law in order that justice may prevail for all and that Nik Raina’s fundamental rights as a free citizen is restored.

 

ABOUT BORDERS MALAYSIA

Borders in Malaysia is operated by Berjaya Books Sdn. Bhd. and is now wholly owned by Berjaya Corporation. Borders Malaysia goes beyond offering quality books, with educational and entertainment items. The first Borders Malaysia store opened its doors for business in 2005 at Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur. Today, there are six Borders Malaysia stores. They are located at The Curve, Mutiara Damansara; The Gardens, Mid Valley City; Tropicana City Mall, Petaling Jaya; Bangsar Village II, Bangsar, Queensbay Mall, Penang and IOI City Mall, Putrajaya.

Borders Malaysia offers a selection of almost 200,000 book and magazine titles. The urban bookstore chain believes in developing the culture of reading and aims to promote English literacy. To achieve this it looks to making reading and learning fun and exploratory. Another key characteristic of Borders is the personal service and the warm, reader-friendly ambience. There are also Borders Express stores, which cater to the specific needs of niche customers; there are two currently, located at Berjaya Times Square and Bangsar Village II.

For media enquiries, please contact Liza Ramli on +6019 387 4612
or e-mail lizaramli@lizaramli.com

 

Stop persecuting store manager, Borders tells JAWI

by The Malaysian Insider

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/stop-persecuting-store-manager-borders-tells-jawi

Nik Raina 2014

Borders Malaysia today demanded that store manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz (above)  be freed from further persecution by religious authorities, two days before she is to appear in the Shariah Court for allegedly selling and distributing a book contrary to Islamic laws.

In a statement, Borders Malaysia said that the charge was groundless as both the High Court and the Court of Appeal ruled that the 2012 raid on the bookstore had been wrongful and illegal.

“The management of Berjaya Books Sdn Bhd, as the owner of Borders Bookstores, calls for an end and a closure to the criminal proceedings against Nik Raina. It has been three years‎ since Nik Raina lost her absolute freedom to become a person who is currently under bail. It has been three years that Nik Raina has had to endure adversity in her life including being looked upon with suspicion by Muslims.”

The Shariah Court fixed the criminal proceeding for mention on February 26. Nik Raina was charged under Section 13 (1) of the Shariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act and if convicted could be fined up to RM3,000 or jailed up to two years, or both.

Borders Malaysia said the Shariah Court should exercise its judicial discretion under Section 96 (g)‎ of the Shariah Criminal Procedure (Federal Territories) Act 1997 to discharge her.

It said ‎the Federal Territories Islamic ‎Religious Department‎ (JAWI) had not filed a motion for leave to appeal to the Federal Court the decision made by the Court of Appeal last year.

“Even if Jawi wishes to preserve its position, there‎ is no basis either for JAWI or the Shariah Court to postpone this matter any further.

“At the very least, Nik Raina should be released by way of a discharge not amounting to an acquittal. In that matter, Nik Raina’s freedom and personal liberty can be duly restored and neither Jawi nor anyone will suffer any prejudice.”

On December 30, the Court of Appeal decided that JAWI ‎was wrong in raiding and seizing copies the controversial book “Allah, Liberty and Love” by Irshad Manji‎ from a Borders bookstore, upholding a lower court’s decision.

The book was seized before an edict banning it was issued and Jawi’s actions were deemed illegal and unconstitutional.

A three-man bench, led by Datuk Mah Weng Kwai, also held that JAWI’s actions against Nik Raina was unconstitutional and illegal and said her arrest and prosecution must be quashed.

This case has also shone a spotlight on the country’s parallel systems of civil law and shariah law, with the majority Malay-Muslim population being bound by the shariah.

The three respondents in the case were Berjaya Books Sdn Bhd, Borders assistant general-manager of operations and merchandising Stephen Fung, and Nik Raina.

The appeal was filed by JAWI, the Home Minister and the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Islamic religious affairs, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom.

The parties were appealing against the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s decision to allow Berjaya Books’s judicial review to quash JAWI’s actions in seizing Irshad Manji’s book from the bookstore.

On May 23, 2012, Jawi had conducted a raid at the bookstore and subsequently Nik Raina was accused by the religious authority of breaching the hukum syarak by distributing or selling the book “Allah, Liberty and Love”.

When JAWI conducted the raid, the book had not been banned and Nik Raina was not responsible for the buying and stocking of books and merchandise in Borders stores.

Despite a number of representations made by her lawyers on Nik Raina’s behalf, JAWI insisted on prosecuting her.

On June 18, 2012, Borders filed for leave to commence a judicial review on the legality of the raid, the process and prosecution of Nik Raina at a time when there was no ban of the publication.

The High Court subsequently granted leave for Borders to commence judicial review proceedings against JAWI for raiding, searching, seizing of publications and subjecting to examination and investigation Borders’s Muslim and non-Muslim employees.

They also sought legal clarification on the arrest and prosecution of Nik Raina for distributing by way of selling Irshad Manji’s book (in English) and the Malay translation “Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta” which is said to be against Section 13 of the Shariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act 1997.

The Home Ministry banned the book on May 29, and the ban only came into effect on June 14, three weeks after the raid.

The then Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, in his affidavit filed in the High Court, stated that JAWI had powers to seize books that are in violation of Islamic law even if they are not banned by the ministry.‎

“Although there had been no Prohibition Order on the date on which the book was confiscated by JAWI, the department is empowered to seize the book because the book had contravened Section 13 of the Shariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act 1997,” he wrote in his affidavit at the time.

On March 23 last year, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur ruled that Jawi had acted illegally in raiding the Borders bookstore at the Gardens Mall in Kuala Lumpur and seizing the book.

Justice Datuk Zaleha Yusof said in her judgment that JAWI had also acted illegally in charging store manager Nik Raina, a Muslim employee, at the shariah court in Kuala Lumpur. Following the judgment, Jawi filed an appeal against the High Court’s decision.

Nik Raina Case: JAWI goes to Federal Court


January 30, 201

Nik Raina Case: JAWI goes to Federal Court

by Hafiz Yatim@www.malaysiakini.com

Nik Raina 2014The government seems hell-bent on bringing Borders store manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz to book for selling a publication deemed controversial by religious authorities.

On Wednesday, two days before the expiration date, the Federal Territory Islamic Department (JAWI), the Home Minister, and the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, filed a leave application to take the matter all the way to the Federal Court.

All three parties are appealing against the Court of Appeal’s decision which dismissed JAWI’s challenge of a High Court ruling declaring its raid on the bookstore as unlawful.

Manji's Book

JAWI had raided the bookstore in a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur on May 23, 2012 and seized copies of the Bahasa Malaysia translation of ‘Allah, Liberty and Love’ by Muslim Canadian author Irshad Manji.

At the time of the raid, the book has not been banned, but a prohibition on its sale was gazetted six days later on May 29.

On December 30, the Appeals Court, in a unanimous decision, dismissed the appeal by the three parties.

Nik Raina and Borders had filed a judicial review to challenge the raid and seizure in the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

Justice Zaleha Yusof ruled JAWI was wrong in seizing the book and taking action on Nik Raina, and ordered it to drop the charge against Nik Raina.

Nik Raina was charged under Section 13(1) of the Federal Territories Syariah Offences Act for distributing the book at Borders at The Gardens mall in Kuala Lumpur between 8.41pm and 9.45pm on March 23, 2013.

If found guilty, she faces a sentence of a RM3,000 fine and two years’ jail, or both, upon conviction.

Legal questions posed

In order to obtain leave, JAWI and the two ministers will have to pose questions of law that is to be decided by the highest court in the country.

In documents sighted by Malaysiakini, it is understood three questions are posed, namely:-

–Whether the court in exercising its civil jurisdiction can review the prosecution of criminal cases especially when the offence is against the precepts of Islam.

–whether no enforcement action can be taken against a corporate entity incapable of professing a religion for an offence under the Syariah law; and most importantly,

–whether an action by the religious authority which subsequently leads to a prosecution in the Syariah Court can be challenged and reviewed in the civil court.

No dates has been fixed yet by the Federal Court to hear the leave application.

In civil and judicial cases before the Federal Court, permission has to be obtained before the substantive part of the appeal process can be heard.

Despite the High Court decision which has been upheld by the Court of Appeal, JAWI has not withdrawn the charge against Nik Raina, resulting in this application.

‘Plea for compassion fell on deaf ears’

In an immediate reaction, Berjaya Books Sdn Bhd expressed disappointment over the government decision to appeal.

“At Berjaya Books, we are so very disappointed that our plea for JAWI to find the compassion to drop the charges against Nik Raina appear to have fallen on deaf ears,” said its chief operating officer Yau Su Peng .

Yau (right), who is also the General Manager of special projects at Berjayayau-su-peng Corporation Bhd, said 32 months have lapsed since the raid on their store and the susequent charge against Nik Raina at the Syariah Court.

“Both the High Court and the Court of Appeal have handed down decisions in our favour.What else do we need to do in order to defend our employee’s right to work?” asked Yau.