Tuesday, December 7

High Court quashes ban by Home Ministry on book


KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here yesterday quashed a ban by the Home Ministry on the book, “Muslim Women and the Challenge of Islamic Extremism”, in a judicial review sought by the non-governmental organisation, Sisters in Islam (SIS).Justice Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof held that the circulation of the book was not prejudicial to public order as only seven of the 215 pages of the book were said to have offended the Malaysian Islamic Development (Jakim) guidelines.

He said the Home Minister had acted illegally and irrationally in banning the book on July 31, 2008, after it was in circulation for two years.

SIS, in its application for a judicial review filed on Dec 15, 2008, named the then Home Minister, Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, as the respondent, claiming that the ban on the book was outside the ambit of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and contravened Articles 8(2), 10(1)(a) and 11(4) of the Federal Constitution.

The book is a collection of essays by activists and international intellectuals which was edited by sociologist Prof Norani Othman of the Malaysian and International Studies Institute, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

The book was banned on grounds that it was inclined towards confusing the Muslim community, particularly women, and an attempt to interpret statements about Islam causing “prejudicial to public order”.

SIS was represented by counsels Malik Imtiaz Sarwar and K Shanmuga while senior federal counsel Noor Hishamuddin Ismail, for the Home Minister. — Bernama