By Hafidz Baharom
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 — The Federal Territories Religious Department (JAWI) admitted that it had raided a Borders bookstore branch without a fatwa, the lead counsel for the bookstores owner Berjaya Books Sdn Bhd said today.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court had in June granted Berjaya leave for judicial review of JAWI’s actions of seizing the books by controversial author Irshad Manji before a book ban by the Home Ministry.
“There was no gazetted fatwa or even ban on the book, and Borders was never informed of such by JAWI,” Berjaya’s lawyer Rosli Dahlan told reporters today.
Religious authorities, such as JAWI, needed to issue and gazette a fatwa or a religious edict before its officers could carry out the raid at the Borders’ Gardens’ branch on May 23.
The judicial review hearing scheduled for today was postponed due to the last-minute and incomplete filing of court documents by the respondents on August 30.
“The respondents were all served in June and according to the law, they had 14 days to respond. It’s now been two-and-a-half months,” Rosli said.
Rosli added that the home minister’s affidavit, which was yet to be filed, was mentioned in a letter from Attorney General’s Chambers in requesting for the postponement.
The three respondents in the judicial review are the home minister, the minister in the Prime Minister’s office in charge of Religious Affairs and JAWI.
The applicants for the judicial review are Berjaya, Borders general manager of operations and merchandising, Stephen Fung Wye Keong, and store manager for the Borders Mid Valley branch Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz.
The judicial review hearing before High Court Judge Datuk Rohana Yusuf has been postponed to October 22.