Raid on Borders illegal, court rules

NST, March 23, 2013


IN THE CLEAR: Book not subjected to prohibitory order at the time KUALA LUMPUR: BERJAYA Books Sdn Bhd succeeded in its application challenging the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department's (Jawi) action in raiding, searching and seizing Irshad Manji's controversial book at a Borders bookstore last year.

High Court judge Datuk Zaleha Yusof yesterday allowed a judicial review application by Berjaya Books and its two employees, Borders general manager of operations and merchandising Stephen Fung Wye Keong and store manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz. She made no order as to costs.

In her judgment, Zaleha said the court had the jurisdiction to hear and decide the matter. "The question whether this court encroached the jurisdiction of syariah court does not arise." She said that at the time of Jawi's action, the book entitled Allah, Liberty and Love was not subject to any prohibitory order.

"The prohibition order was issued three weeks after the raid." Berjaya Books, which owns Borders, had filed the judicial review application on June 18 last year. The three named Jawi, the home minister and minister in the prime minister's department in charge of Islamic affairs as respondents.

The company, Fung and Nik Raina sought a court order to quash the decision by Jawi in raiding, searching and seizing the publication on May 23 at Borders in The Gardens, Mid Valley City, here. They also wanted an order to quash Jawi's decision to arrest and prosecute Nik Raina. Nik Raina was charged at the Syariah High Court on June 19 with distributing by way of selling the book at the bookstore on May 23.

The three also sought a declaration that Jawi's action on May 23 was null and void as it was done before the Home Ministry issued any prohibition order on the book under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984. The applicants were represented by counsel Rosli Dahlan while senior federal counsel Effandi Nazila Abdullah appeared for the respondents.