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Published: Wednesday June 20, 2012 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday May 29, 2013 MYT 5:04:02 PM

Borders manager charged over banned book

KUALA LUMPUR: A bookstore manager was charged in the Syariah High Court here with distributing a banned book by Canadian author Irshad Manji.

Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz, 36, was accused of distributing the book titled Allah, Liberty and Love, which had been translated into Bahasa Malaysia.

She allegedly committed the offence at Borders bookshop at Level 3, The Gardens Mall in Mid Valley City here on May 23.

She faces a RM3,000 fine or maximum two years’ jail or both under Section 13(1) Syariah Criminal Offences Act (Federal Territories) 1997, if convicted.

Chief prosecutor of the Federal Territory, Ibrahim Deris, prosecuted while counsel Rosli Dahlan acted for Nik Raina before Syarie judge Abdul Walid Abu Hassan.

No plea was recorded.

Abdul Walid granted bail of RM500 with one surety pending mention on Sept 19.

On Monday, Berjaya Books Sdn Bhd, which owns and operates the Borders bookstore chain, applied to the High Court for a judicial review related to the case.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom were named respondents in the application for judicial review.

Meanwhile, Berjaya Books chief operating officer Yau Su Peng has expressed the company’s disappointment over the charge.

She said the raid on May 23 was made at a time when Irshad’s book had not been banned and neither was there a fatwa or any form of notification issued by the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department (Jawi) to Borders.

“There was no way for Borders to know that Jawi considered the books to be objectionable,” she said, adding the Home Ministry only gazetted the banning of Irshad’s books on May 29 and published the fact on June 14.

“Berjaya Books has, at all times, cooperated fully with the authorities and has instructed its employees, both Muslims and non-Muslims, to assist Jawi with its investigations despite the company not being subject to the jurisdiction of Jawi as it is a non-Muslim entity,” added Yau.

In the same vein, she said the management of the company fully supports employees who may be subject to persecution while performing their assigned duties.

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