Author Topic: Book ban is irrational and against Constitution  (Read 602 times)

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Book ban is irrational and against Constitution
« on: 29 Oct, 12:18:55 AM »
Sapa depa nih.. ?

1. Malik Imtiaz Sarwar
2. K. Shanmuga
3. Prof Noraini Othman

The Star Online > Nation
Published: Wednesday October 28, 2009 MYT 8:09:00 PM
Book ban is irrational and against Constitution: SIS lawyers


KUALA LUMPUR: The ban on a book published by the Sisters in Islam (SIS) is illegal, irrational and inconsistent with the Federal Constitution, the High Court heard.

SIS also contended that then Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, who ordered the ban, had no authority to do so.

In their submissions, counsel for SIS Malik Imtiaz Sarwar and K. Shanmuga told Justice Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof that under the Constitutional framework, Islam was a state matter and as such fell exclusively within the purview of the state governments.

“The Minister does not have the requisite legal competence and/ or authority to arrive at conclusions on matter pertaining to Islam.

“It would be necessary for the state religious authorities to have firstly concluded on the matter (where it pertains to Islam) before the Minister can exercise his discretion,” Malik Imtiaz said at the first day of hearing Wednesday, adding that these pre-conditions were not met.

On Dec 15 last year, SIS Forum (Malaysia) had applied for leave for a judicial review of an order banning the 215-page book entitled Muslim Women and the Challenges of Islamic Extremism.

It is a compilation of essays based on research by renowned international scholars and activists, and the book was edited by sociologist Prof Noraini Othman of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Institute of Malaysia and International Studies.

The Home Ministry had banned it last year under Section 7 of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 on grounds that it was “prejudicial to public order.”

Syed Hamid was named as the respondent in the application. Representing him was senior federal counsel Noor Hisham Ismail.

Shanmuga submitted that the order was also based on reasons which discriminated against Muslims and women, thus contravening the equality provisions of the Federal Constitution.

He also said that it was not conceivable that the collection of academic articles could be a threat to public order.

“It is an attempt by the respondent to stifle the ‘free trade in ideas’ that is the hallmark of a modern and vibrant democracy.

“The book doesn’t say what they accuse it of. It does not question Islam at all. It questions the implementation of the state enactments,” he said.

Hearing continues on Nov 18.