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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Zaid urges leaders to stop focusing on sensational issues

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 07:58 PM PDT

(The Star) - Leaders should stop focusing on sensational issues and instead work on bread-and-butter matters affecting the public, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said.

He believes that many leaders prefer to speak on issues that have no value to the country.

"Somehow our leaders tend to focus on more sensational and emotional issues as it is easier to get people worked up," he told The Star Online.

Zaid, the former de-facto law minister, said there were important issues especially related to the economy.

"These are the real problems of life but they don't want to talk about these issues because they are dry," he said.

In the recent weeks, issues such as the sex bloggers, a video of a woman celebrating Hari Raya with her dogs and of a group of Buddhists using a surau in Kota Tinggi have dominated the headlines, with politicians from both sides coming out with statements.

"If washing a dog is an offence, charge her. It's a small matter. There will be endless problems if the whole country is going to be talking about what's on YouTube," he said, adding that the media sensationalised such issues as well.

He said people were less tolerant than before because of the Internet, where they could hear and see almost everything.

"The Internet does have good things that we like, but lots of things that we don't like. It has generated a level of extreme positions from both Muslims and non-Muslims," he said.

Zaid also said the Government never wants to make tough decisions that could make it unpopular. He cited the example of the implementation of the goods and services tax, which he believed was essential to the country's financial stability.

"We have been postponing tough decisions for the last 30 years. That's why we are a third world country trying to be a first (world country).

"We could have been richer than (South) Korea. In 1965, we were richer than Korea, today they are four times richer than us," he said.

He also said the Opposition should help the Government instead of always critisicing it.

""The problem with this country is there is too much politicking," said Zaid who joined PKR after quitting Umno.

Zaid, 62, who is a Kita member, said he was too old for politics now and would rather just say whatever he wanted to and therefore, did not plane to rejoin a mainstream political party.

"There is enough politics, enough politicians and enough parties out there," he said.


Hadi on 'stupid' Sunnis and 'stupid' Shi'ites

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 04:39 PM PDT

(Harakah) - Yet again, PAS president Tuan Guru Abdul Hadi Awang has urged Muslims to avoid sectarian polemics especially in the issue of differences between Islam's two major schools of thought represented by Sunnis and Shi'ites.

Describing the Sunni-Shi'a debate as archaic, Hadi (pic) said it was being deliberately resurrected by the enemies of Muslims in order to disunite them.

He reiterated his stand that the issue of differences within Islam is the realm of those knowledgeable in Islamic sciences "and not those who are stupid and ignorant".

"Problems of sects should be discussed among the scholars, so let's not be ignorant.

"There are stupid Sunnis and stupid Shi'ites, and this is the disease which has stricken us today," said Hadi, while reminding that Shi'a influences among the Malay Muslim community were a historical reality dating back to centuries.

Hadi lamented that Muslims had been bogged down by sectarian fightings while ignoring their common enemies such as Israel and certain Western powers that had been undermining political awakening in Muslim countries.

"We are in the era of Islamic awakening. Muslim groups are emerging victorious everywhere.

"But it is sheer stupidity that these outdated issues [on Sunni-Shia differences] are being re-lived, to the extent that Muslims are unaware of the Islamic awakening which they should focus on...

"They are just busy with problems of mazhab (school of thought)," he told a dialogue session during a Hari Raya gathering in Terengganu recently.

Hadi, who has taken head-on a recent campaign by Islamic bureaucrats backed by the Wahhabi lobby to label Shi'ite Muslims as infidels and accuse PAS of the same, also pointed out that it was natural that Sunni Muslims should lead the Muslim world due to their overwhelming majority.

"A Shi'ite leader once told me that the rise of Islam must be led by a Sunni. The Shi'ites cannot take the lead because 90 per cent of the Muslim world is Sunni," said Hadi, who has close ties with Islamic scholars from Turkey and Iran, the two major Islamic powers widely seen to represent the two divides.


Case management for six charged under Sedition Act to be heard on Sept 13

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 04:03 PM PDT

(The Sun Daily) - The Sessions Court here has set Sept 13 for the case management of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice-president Tian Chua (pic), Sultan Idris University of Education student Adam Adli Abd Halim and four other opposition activists who were charged with making seditious speeches at the Kuala Lumpur Chinese Assembly Hall in May this year.

Judge Norsharidah Awang made the decision today after deputy public prosecutor Mohamad Abazafree Mohd Abbas informed the court to consolidate all charges because the accused had issued their speeches at the same place and time on May 13.

He added the witnesses present then were the same and it would be inconvenient for them to attend separate hearings.

Defendant counsel Mohd Haijan Omar said in response that each statement raised by the six accused must be studied to determine if it was seditious in nature.

He added that the time range stated was insufficient for the six accused to make an application for a joint trial.

At the same time,defence counsel Latheefa Koya informed the court that three of the accused, Tian Chua, Adam Adli and Datuk Mohd Tamrin Tun Ghafar Baba, have applied to strike out the charges at the High Court.

On May 23, Adam Adli, 25, pleaded not guilty to a charge of making a speech containing seditious remarks to incite the people to change the government in an illegal manner.

Subsequently on May 29, Tian Chua, whose actual name is Chua Tian Chang, Malaysian Students Solidarity chairman Muhammmad Safwan Anang @ Talib, 24, PAS member Mohd Tamrin Abdul Ghafar, 63, and two other opposition activists Haris Fathillah Mohamed Ibrahim, 54, and Hishamuddin Md Rais, 62, pleaded not guilty to the same charges.

All of them were charged under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act 1948 (Act 15) which carries a five year jail term or a maximum fine of RM5,000 upon conviction.

They allegedly committed the offence at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall at Jalan Maharajalela, Dang Wangi here between 8.55pm and 11.15pm on May 13 this year.

The defence team was led by lawyer Gobind Singh Deo.


The Five Shot Dead Believed To Be Hired Killers Wanted In Three States

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 03:54 PM PDT

(Bernama) -- Police believe the five shot dead in a shootout here early Monday were members of a triad gang suspected to be also hired killers wanted for murders and attempted murders in three states.

Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said police believed one of the dead men was the leader of the gang and they were tracking down the remaining members of the gang which had committed the crimes in Penang, Kedah and Negeri Sembilan.

The five men were shot dead in an apartment in Sungai Nibong, at 4.30 am during a shootout with a raiding police team from the D9 Special Investigation Division of the Penang CID with the assistance of the Bukit Aman D9 and Kedah D9 divisions.

Police recovered three guns from the dead men, namely a silver Norinco, a silver .38 revolver and a black Walther PPK.

Khalid said that from an examination of the firearms seized in the operation, police were able to solve 10 cases of murder and two cases of attempted murder in the three states.

"Seven of the murders and the two cases of attempted murder occurred in Penang. Two of the murders occurred in Kedah and one in Negeri Sembilan. All the cases took place over the past year, with the latest in Penang," he told a news conference at the Penang Police headquarters, in George Town, Monday.

Khalid said police were tracking down several other members of the gang believed to have been also involved in the murders and shootings.

"Preliminary investigation indicates that one of the five shot dead today was the leader of the gang. The gang moved about on the orders of the leader and based on its targeted victims.

"It does not stay in any one place for long so as to avoid detection by the police," he said.

Khalid said police had been monitoring the gang for several months and had set up a special team to investigate all the murder and shooting cases.

"The investigation and intelligence gathered resulted in today's success," he said.

Replying to a question, Khalid said the gang members offered themselves for hire to kill or shoot but they had also killed and shot people out of vengeance and other motives.

He said that four of the five men had several previous criminal records.


Govt Has Not Finalised Decision To Bring Back Preventive Law - Najib

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 03:51 PM PDT

(Bernama) -  Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the government had not finalised a decision to bring back the preventive law to fight serious crimes in the country.

"We have not made a final decision. We want to see whether existing laws are sufficient at the moment. We are having intensive discussions, whether we require additional laws or not.

"The only problem for preventive law is that, how do you arrest someone if a crime has not been committed? If (it is) on mere suspicion, is it enough (sufficient) to arrest somebody on the basis of preventive law?

"So, that's the debate we are having at present, and the public must be aware that at the same time, we are concerned about bringing down the crime rate and we are concerned about possible abuses of human rights in the country," he said.

Najib was speaking to reporters after attending the Hari Raya Aidilfitri Open House organised by the Treasury in Putrajaya, Monday.

Between April and last month, 23 street shooting cases were reported nationwide, including those involving high-profile or public figures.

Asked whether existing laws were sufficient, the prime minister said the government was looking at it, adding that the police and the Attorney-General's Chambers were working very closely within the existing laws to study whether such laws were sufficient at the moment.

"I have made a public commitment that if existing laws are not sufficient, we will strengthen the existing laws but with sufficient provisions to safeguard against possible abuses," he said.

On former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's statement that the current spate of street shootings was the price for freedom that each citizen paid, Najib said the government was looking for the best balance in terms of freedom of human rights and public interest based on our "desire to safeguard public order and peace".

"The government is looking to ensure that the right of the individual is not compromised while public interest is safeguarded.

"This is the balance we have to achieve to create a more mature society and safeguard the fundamental right of the individual, but without disregarding our desire to safeguard the public interest as a whole," he added.


Friday verdict on Altantuya murder appeal

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 03:18 PM PDT

(BERNAMA) - The Court of Appeal here will deliver on Friday, its decision on the appeal by two former police special action unit personnel who were convicted for the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu.

When contacted, lawyer Hazman Ahmad, who is representing former chief inspector Azilah Hadri, said he received a notice from the Court of Appeal's registrar, notifying the judgment date.

Azilah, 34, and former corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 39, were convicted and sentenced to death by the High Court in Shah Alam in 2009, for murdering Altantuya, 28, at Mukim Bukit Raja in Shah Alam between 10pm on Oct 19, and 1am on Oct 20, 2006.

Former political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, 50, who was charged with abetting them, was acquitted by the High Court on Oct 31, 2008 after the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against him.

The Court of Appeal's three-member panel comprising justices Mohamed Apandi Ali, Linton Albert and Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, heard their appeals for two days, from June 24 this year, and have reserved their judgment.

At the hearing, Hazman and Sirul Azhar's lawyer, Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin, submitted that the trial judge had seriously erred in law and facts in convicting the duo.

During the appeal, Kamarul had contended the failure by the prosecution to call Deputy Superintendent Musa Safri to testify in the trial, constituted a mistrial.

Meanwhile, Hazman had argued that Azilah did not have possession and control of the C-4 explosives allegedly used in the woman's murder.

The trial heard that Altantuya was shot before her body was blown up with C-4 explosives.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah had submitted that there was nothing to link Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to the death of Altantuya.

He had said, one could not simply make accusations or attribute anything whatsoever to Najib who was then the deputy prime minister (DPM), just because Abdul Razak happened to know him (Najib) and Musa happened to be aide-de-camp to the DPM at that time.


Families want cops charged with murder

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 03:05 PM PDT

Families of deceased says they are not satisfied with the police press statement that the slayed were wanted for murders.

Athi Shankar, FMT

Aggrieved families of the five alleged members of Gang 04 who were gunned down by police on Monday demanded that the authorities haul the shooters to court.

Accompanied by their lawyer, Seri Delima assemblyman RSN Rayer, families of the four deceased have lodged separate police reports but with the same contents at the Jalan Patani police station here.

Only the older Gobinath family did not lodge police report last night.

In their reports, the families said they were not satisfied with the police press statement that the deceased were gang members and were wanted for several murders.

They reported that they saw several bullet marks on the deceased when they were called on to identify the bodies at the forensic centre in Penang Hospital.

"We want the authorities to take firm action on those behind the brutal killing of my son," said VR Murugasen, 52, father of the deceased Suresh.

Police shot and killed the five during a raid on an apartment unit in Sungai Nibong at 4.30am on Monday.

They were Gobinath Jayasooryam, 31; Ramesh Raganathan, 27; N Rakan, 25; Suresh Murugasen, 25; and Gobinath Myavanam, 21.

Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar had claimed that the five were notorious gang members involved in 10 murders and two attempted-murder since last year.

Initially, family members said they would not collect the bodies until a second post-mortem has been done.

But they collected the bodies last night after the police assured them that there would be no cover up in the case.

Rayer said the police had informed him and the families that they would not conceal any forensic evidence or facts of the case from them or the public.

"The police assured the families that they would be transparent and truthful in the full forensic report, which should be out in few days time," said Rayer.

The funerals are expected to be held today according to Hindu rites.



Phone Taps Considered in Malaysia’s War on Graft

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 02:15 PM PDT

Paul Low, Malaysia's minister in the Prime Minister's Department overseeing graft and human rights. Photographer: Goh Seng Chong/Bloomberg

Merdeka Center political analyst Ibrahim Suffian doubted that electronic monitoring would help the government tackle graft. "The laws as they currently exist are quite ample," he said yesterday by phone. "They don't need to engage in additional surveillance. What the public is expecting them to do is to go after the major perpetrators that are generally publicly known but protected due to politics or so on."

By Liau Y-Sing, Bloomberg

Malaysia may allow phone tapping and Internet monitoring as it steps up the war on corporate and government graft, which costs the country as much as $9 billion a year, a minister said.

It also plans legislation to make company directors liable for corruption involving staff and will appoint chief integrity officers in government ministries, Paul Low, the minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of fighting graft, said in an interview. He said talks on electronic monitoring are in early stages and didn't provide specifics on how sweeping powers might be or how they might be used.

"Does Malaysia want to be a failed state or does it want to rise up?" the former country president of Transparency International said in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. "Malaysia has lots of potential but hasn't lived up to it."

Malaysia's move comes amid a global debate over the merits of state-sanctioned snooping after computer security contractor Edward Snowden exposed a secret U.S. government electronic-surveillance program designed to foil terrorism. President Barack Obama responded by saying he'll ask Congress to amend legislation to increase transparency and oversight.

Bribe-taking was found to be the most rampant in Malaysia among 30 countries surveyed last year by Transparency International, even as it improved to 54th from 60th place among 176 nations in the institution's Corruption Perceptions Index. Prime Minister Najib Razak responded by appointing Low to his cabinet to lead the war on graft, after his government was returned to power in a May election.

 'Ample Laws'

Almost half of Malaysians surveyed in a Merdeka Center for Opinion Research poll published in February said fighting graft was a more urgent issue for the government than taming inflation or boosting foreign investment.


Nomination forms anger MIC branch heads

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 02:15 PM PDT

"The party wants to go in a new direction but we are still clinging to old ways. How are we going to get the support from the Indian community if they see MIC carrying on the same old way?" 

(The Malay Mail) - The upcoming MIC party elections have come under scrutiny again following allegations of a new method of intimidation that allows the party to identify those opposing party president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel.

Several branch chairmen claim the nomination forms for the president's post came with the president's name printed on it.

"This type of nomination forms will not allow for a free and fair presidential election," said a branch chairman, who wanted to remain anonymous.

He said this could prevent others from challenging for the post.

"The party headquarters may claim this was how it was done during the tenure of former party president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu but it does not mean it is the right thing to do," he said.

"MIC members should have spoken out about this but none did. We should not accept practices which were not right.

"The party wants to go in a new direction but we are still clinging to old ways. How are we going to get the support from the Indian community if they see MIC carrying on the same old way?"

The branch chairman said a few of his colleagues informed him they received two sets of forms — one with Palanivel's name printed on them and the other blank.

"The blank forms are for branch chairmen known to be against Palanivel," he said.

Some 3,900 branch chairmen are eligible to vote at the election next month. A candidate must get 50 nominations before he is eligible to contest.

Each nomination form must have the signatures of six branch chairmen.

This means a candidate must have 300 branch chairmen supporting the nomination.


Firearms For Sale On Facebook

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 02:12 PM PDT

(Bernama) -  They are not only cheap but easily available: this is the picture portrayed on two Facebook accounts found to be selling firearms openly in Malaysia.

A check by Bernama found that a Facebook account claimed to offer a range of pistols, revolvers and assault rifles for between RM500 and RM15,000.

The list of weapons for sale on the account included AK-47 assault rifles, at RM12,000, Smith & Wesson pistols, at RM500, and revolvers with two boxes of ammunition, at RM15,000.

Another Facebook account declared that it could offer about 10 types of firearms, among them E&C M16A4, Tercel M1911 airsoft gun and S&T Mosin Nagant Gas Rifle (Real Wood) for between RM600 and RM1,250, resembling real weapons.

The Facebook account was opened in February and received '688 likes' and showed 141 browsers having an ongoing discussion on the weapons.

The account owner also boldly provided a mobile phone number and responded to Bernama's text message. 

The discovery of these two Facebook accounts raises a host of questions about how easy it is to buy firearms through the Internet, especially in the present scenario of an increasing trend in fatal shootings reported lately.

Just in July there were two shootings. Teacher Mat Zaki Hashim, 35, was critically injured when he was shot in the neck on July 5 near Kampung Kubang Panjang, Pasir Mas, Kelantan.

Then, on July 28, Mywatch chairman R. Sri Sanjeevan was left fighting for his life after being shot by two gunmen on a motorbike in Taman Cempaka, Bahau, Negeri Sembilan, and a day later, AmBank founder Hussain Ahmad Najadi became the third victim when he was shot dead while coming out of a temple with his wife at Lorong Ceylon, near here. 

Asked to comment on the Facebook accounts, Kuala Lumpur CID chief Datuk Ku Chin Wah said the police would not hesitate to investigate the matter thoroughly under Section 11 of the Firearms Act.

"Selling firearms without a licence is a serious offence," he told Bernama.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the account holders appeared to be blatant and prepared to risk the law to sell firearms on the Internet.

"As a country with strict laws on the subject, the authorities should take stern action against such quarters so that it would deter other offenders," he said.

This is the price of handing out citizenship for votes

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 12:39 PM PDT 

(TMI) - While the accusation that illegal settlers were given Malaysian identity cards in return for their political support is well known, what is less known is what has come after this.

The question you may ask yourself after reading a few paragraphs of this story is: What if something like this were to happen in the peninsula too?

Where it's happening is Sabah. What is happening, according to one key witness in a special court now looking into the issue of identity cards given to illegal residents there, is little less than the colonisation of a part of Malaysia.

While the accusation that illegal settlers were given Malaysian identity cards in return for their political support is well known, what is less known is what has come after this.

In return for their political support of the powers that be, those with the new ICs have been making open land grabs as well as soaking up healthcare and education privileges, said former Sandakan district officer Hassnar Ebrahim.

"Take a look at University Malaysia Sabah: 80% of the students studying there are not local Malaysians," he told The Malaysian Insider yesterday.

Hassnar testified in the Royal Commission of Inquiry Into The Illegal Immigrants In Sabah just last week, where he named former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the brains behind the scheme to offer illegals there Malaysian identity cards in return for their votes for Barisan Nasional.

"There is no country in the world where the government intentionally dilutes the voting power of the native population like in Malaysia," he noted wryly.

"Thousands of acres of native land have slowly been taken over by foreigners who use forged powers of attorney documents and forged sales and purchase agreements," he claimed.

So big was the problem that even Sabah and Sarawak Chief Justice Tan Sri Richard Malanjum had called for a Native Land Tribunal to be set up to handle abuses caused by the issuance of native land certificates, he said.

Read more at: 

Perkasa slams move to link education loan defaulters to CCRIS

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 12:32 PM PDT 

(TMI) - Perkasa argued that the move by Idris would close the opportunities for Malay and Bumiputera youths from venturing into the entrepreneurship sector as they would face difficulties in obtaining loans.

Perkasa has slammed the government's move to link National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loan defaulters to the Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS), calling it a persecution of Bumiputera youths.

Education Minister II Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said the move was two-pronged, first to help control rising household debt and second to promote the culture of good repayment by PTPTN borrowers.

He said this would ensure that other students would be able to benefit from the education financing facility.

But Malay rights group Perkasa didn't take kindly to Idris's reasoning, arguing that it penalised borrowers, the majority of who were youths.

Perkasa argued that the move by Idris would close the opportunities for Malay and Bumiputera youths from venturing into the entrepreneurship sector as they would face difficulties in obtaining loans.

"This is a form of persecution. I challenge Idris to recover the borrowed monies from Malay and Bumiputera students by going through the court process first. The government must remember that the public has a choice," said Perkasa general secretary Syed Hassan Syed Ali (pic).

He told The Malaysian Insider that the public could choose to either vote for a party which fights for the student loans to be written off or a party which wanted to link the loan defaulters with CCRIS.

Read more at: 

In Borders case, common sense triumphs over bad faith

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 12:26 PM PDT 

(MM) - Even if it is a valid law, what amounts to 'contrary to Islamic Law' as provided by that provision is also questionable as it is too wide. Members of public must be made known what publication is contrary to Islam law or precept of Islam. 

In the face of Malaysia's rising religious conservatism, a civil court judge has boldly ruled on reason and common sense to uphold a Muslim storekeeper's constitutional right to sell a book Islam's gatekeepers here found offensive.

The court case involving the local Borders' sale of Canadian author Irshad Manji's book "Allah, Liberty and Love" has been closely-watched since it hit national headlines last year after Islamic enforcement officials seized the stock and charged the store manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz with violating publication and distribution laws.

Five months after pronouncing the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (JAWI), the home minister and the minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of Islamic affairs guilty of abusing their powers to illegally prosecute the bookstore's Muslim manager, Datuk Zaleha Yusof of the Kuala Lumpur High Court has finally released her grounds of judgment.

Though couched in the language of the court, the judge's strongly-worded explanation kept to a strict interpretation of the law that has given hope to Malaysians that their civil liberties as laid down in the country's founding document remain as robust as the day they were conceived half a century ago.

"I am satisfied that the applicants have shown existence of illegality, abuse of discretionary powers, irrationality, unreasonable exercise of power, unconstitutionally and that there exists procedural impropriety on the part of the respondents," Zaleha wrote in her grounds of judgment released last week.

"Looking at the whole scenario of the case, it is hard not to agree with the applicants that there are elements of mala fide in the handling and carrying out of the actions of the respondents," she added.

Mala fide, meaning bad faith in Latin, carries a heavy meaning in law, as the judge noted.

"In law, mala fide can be inferred when there was absence of care, caution and a proper sense of responsibility."

She observed that JAWI — named the first respondent in the bookstore's suit — had acted in bad faith "when they exercised their dominant position and enforcement powers for a collateral purpose by: (i) prosecuting the 3rd applicant, who is a Muslim, when they could not do so against the 1st applicant (as the corporate owner of Borders bookstore) or the 2nd applicant (as the person responsible over the display and sale of the Publications, and who as a non-Muslim could not be prosecuted under the Act 559".

Nik Raina was the third applicant, while Borders' assistant general manager in charge of merchandising Stephen Fung Wye Keong was the second applicant. The bookstore, which is licensed under the name Berjaya Books Sdn Bhd, was the first applicant.

The home minister and the Islamic affairs minister were named the second and third respondents respectively in Borders' suit.

The religious enforcers had also acted in bad faith, the judge said, when it raided the bookstore in popular shopping mall Mid Valley Megamall on May 23, 2012 to seize copies of Manji's books despite the Home Ministry only banning them over a week later on May 29.

JAWI's arrest and prosecution of Nik Raina was also carried out in bad faith, the judge said, "for what was a non-offence at the time of the raid".

"It can also be inferred when the 3rd applicant was deprived of her liberty without due care, caution and responsibility, when the 1st respondent arresting and prosecuting her despite knowing that she was neither the owner of the bookstore; nor had control over the selection of publications therein," the judge wrote.

The home minister — then Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein — had acted in bad faith when he made an order in a "casual or cavalier fashion, in rushing the Prohibition Order to prohibit the publications, almost as an afterthought", the judgment read.

Other highlights from the grounds of judgment:

On a state's right to act against a Muslim, under state law:

"However, I must again emphasize, clear reading of item 1 of List II of the Ninth Schedule as I mention just now, shows that the state cannot enact laws in regard to matters included in the Federal List.

"Since matters pertaining to publications, printing and printing presses fall within List I i.e. the Federal List, validity of section 13 of Act 559 is questionable as it seems to be ultra vires the Act 301 and the Federal Constitution.

"Even if it is a valid law, what amounts to 'contrary to Islamic Law' as provided by that provision is also questionable as it is too wide. Members of public must be made known what publication is contrary to Islam law or precept of Islam.

"Otherwise, as the learned counsel for the applicants has submitted, a Muslim employee who works in a bookstore that also sells Christianity bibles, books on Buddhism or Hinduism or any other religion besides other books, we do have many such bookstores now, would be committing an offence."

On the state's discretion to ban books:

"Further there is nothing in the said Act 559 which provides for any state religious bodies to prohibit any publication. It only creates an offence of publication. In order to follow and adopt a harmonious interpretation of the laws, the only logical approach is for section 7 of the Act 301 to support section 13 of the Act 559 i.e. notification to the public first than only the enforcement action.

"We live in a multireligious and multiracial society. Such approach, in my opinion, would be harmonious and avoids any tension, controversy and conflict in our society and law."

On JAWI's action against Nik Raina because she is a Muslim:

"Applying that principle, as it stands now, I am of the opinion that the criminal charge against the 3rd applicant in the Syariah High Court is an infringement of Article 7 which is a provision concerning fundamental liberties, guaranteed by our Federal Constitution."

On the home minister's dereliction of duty by passing his job to JAWI without checking:

"I also must state here that I agree with the learned counsel for the applicant when he submits that the 2nd respondent, by the averments in his affidavit, has abdicated his duties when he stated that the 1st respondent can perform seizures without any prohibition order from the KDN, as section 7 of Act 301 clearly states that the powers of prohibition with respect to publication lies with the Honourable Minister of Home Ministry. Hence, there is a procedural impropriety here which warrants a judicial review."

Next, the Syariah Court hurdle

Yau Su Peng, the chief operating officer for Berjaya, voiced her relief that the civil chapter of the court case involving the store and its employees was nearing an end, but held reservations that the book on the legal saga could finally be closed.

"We are very appreciative of the commonsense approach taken by the Court but personally I question why it has taken so long (the raid by JAWI on our Borders outlet in Gardens occurred in May 2012) for justice to be pronounced," Yau told The Malay Mail Online in a recent email interview.

The syariah charge against Nik Raina has yet to be withdrawn, she observed, even as the Attorney-General's Chambers had last month confirmed it had asked the Federal Territory Syarie chief prosecutor and JAWI to do so.

"We are still waiting though, since the decision was given in March 2013, for JAWI to formally withdraw the charges in the Syariah Court against Nik Raina," Yau said.

She said Borders, through its lawyers, had appealed to JAWI drop its prosecution against Borders' Muslim manager in the Islamic court before the end of Ramadan so that Nik Raina could have a happy celebration with her family without the charge hanging over her.

"Sadly, this was not to be and we have been given the date of 28 August as the date on which the parties are to return to the Syariah Court to have the charges withdrawn formally," Yau said.

Malaysia practises a dual-track justice system where Muslims are bound by both secular and Islamic laws but non-Muslims have legal recourse only in the civil court.


Family, Friends Of 5 Men Killed In Shootout With Cops Cause Ruckus

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 12:22 PM PDT 

(NST) - "I am not accepting the accusation that my relative was linked to the underworld. How can they just shoot a person without bringing him to court? This is unacceptable." 

The relatives and friends of the five men killed in a shootout with police created a commotion at the Penang Hospital mortuary yesterday.

Emotions ran high when the family members claimed they were unaware that those gunned down were involved in secret society activities.

Some of them vented their anger by hurling helmets into the mortuary compound and hurled accusations at the police, including one who said the five had been shot "like animals".

One of them, S. Nadarajah, said he would lodge a report against the police over the raid.

"I am not accepting the accusation that my relative was linked to the underworld.

"How can they just shoot a person without bringing him to court? This is unacceptable." 

Nadarajah and family members of the other killed gang members said they would not claim the bodies and demanded that a second post-mortem be carried out.

Some of the disgruntled relatives of the dead men also took the police to task for allegedly being brutal and for being "trigger happy".

Lawyer and DAP assemblyman for Seri Delima R.S.N. Rayer also joined in and described the shootout as a "brutal slaying".

"The police should not have taken the law into their own hands.

"The five men should have been detained and charged in court over their alleged wrongdoings. 

"I was shocked as some relatives of the deceased claimed the bodies had more than one gunshot wound in the head," Rayer said when met at the mortuary.

He said there had been many incidents where Indian community members were shot dead but their cases were swept under the carpet by the police.

Rayer demanded that Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar explain why two of the deceased, who did not have any previous criminal convictions, were also shot dead in the incident.

Meanwhile, many residents staying in the units on the same floor of the apartment rented by the gang members were unaware of the police raid.

One of them, who declined to be named, said she was shocked to find many reporters and photographers at the unit that was raided by an elite team of policemen.

"I am glad, however, that the police carried out their job responsibly without causing any trouble to the other residents on the same floor." 

Checks with the guards manning the entrance to the apartment complex showed they were also unaware of anything before the shootout.

One of them said he only came to know about the police presence after several patrol cars and a Black Maria arrived at the apartment and when some of them left slightly before dawn.

"I do not know when the police arrived.

"I only knew of their presence when the police vehicles arrived and when many of the policemen, in dark uniforms and carrying guns, left the building about 5.30am." 


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