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10 APRIL 2024

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Borders' plea to stay Syariah Court proceedings declined

The Kuala Lumpur Appellate and Special Powers Court has declined to rule on the application by book retailer Borders to stay Syariah Court proceedings against store manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz, pending the disposal of a judicial review.

Judge Rohana Yusof made the decision in chambers today in the presence of lawyers representing both parties.

NONE"She doesn't want to be seen as usurping the powers of the Syariah Court," Rosli Dahlan, counsel for Borders said when met afterwards.

He added that the judge advised the book retailer to file an application for a stay in the Syariah Court itself, as she doesn't think it apt for the civil courts to rule on an ongoing Syariah case.

Nik Raina (left) has already been charged in the Syariah Court for allegedly distributing materials that goes against Islamic teachings after a Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) raid on a Borders outlet found Malay language copies of the latest book by controversial Canadian author Irshad Manji, 'Allah Liberty & Love'.

The Islamic authority has declared the book to be unsuitable for Muslims as it allegedly contains teachings that goes against Islamic mores.

Rosli said that Borders will go to the Syariah Court and file an application for stay of the proceedings, but will also appeal against Rohana's decision, as they believe that a stay can be granted at the civil courts.
“The court is kind enough to undertake to prepare a written judgement and grounds for judgment to allow us to pursue an appeal,” he said.

Rosli also said that federal counsel Nulhisham Ismail was in agreement with him and will advise Jawi prosecutors not to proceed with Nik Raina’s cases until the disposal of the judicial review on Sept 5.

Borders filed the judicial review to quash Jawi’s raids and actions against it and its employee arguing that Jawi) Section 13 (1) of the Federal Territory Syariah Offences Act (FTSOA), is unconstitutional under Article 121 (1) (a) that delineates between the bailiwick of civil and Syariah law.

They contend that the FTSOA does not have any power to ban a book as such power lies with the Publication and Printing Presses Act 1984 (PPPA) which is in the province of civil law.

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