Court of Appeal dismisses MAIS' intervener bid in Zi Publications appeal

PUTRAJAYA: Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS) today failed in its bid to intervene in the appeal by ZI Publications Sdn Bhd and its director Mohd Ezra Mohd Zaid against a high court's dismissal of their judicial review application.

A three-member Court of Appeal panel led by Justice Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat dismissed MAIS' application, ruling that it had no direct interest in the appeal.

However, the judge said MAIS could raise their concerns on the matter through Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) and the Selangor Government, which was represented by Selangor State Legal Advisor Datuk Nik Suhami Nik Sulaiman.

Other judges on the bench were Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli and Datuk Zaleha Yusof.

MAIS was represented by lawyer Alif Ridhwan Mohd Yusof while Surendra Ananth acted for ZI Publications, which had objected to MAIS' application to be an intervener in the appeal.

In his submission, Surendra contended that MAIS did not apply to be an intervener at the High Court stage, therefore it could not apply at the Court of Appeal.

He said the subject matter in the appeal concerned criminal investigation which falls under JAIS jurisdiction and did not involve MAIS.

Later, outside the court, Surendra told reporters that the Court of Appeal would hear ZI Publications and Mohd Ezra's appeal on April 26.

They are appealing against the High Court's dismissal of their judicial review application to challenge the raid carried out by JAIS to seize translated copies of a book, Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta, authored by Irshad Manji.

The High Court made the decision on Sept 6, 2016 after allowing a preliminary objection by JAIS, its director-general, JAIS enforcement chief, Selangor Syarie prosecution chief, Selangor Government and the Malaysian Government.

ZI Publications and Mohd Ezra filed the application for judicial review on July 9, 2012, seeking among others, an order of certiorari to nullify the action by JAIS officers who raided and confiscated 180 books on May 29, 2012 at ZI Publications.

They are also seeking an order to nullify Mohd Ezra's arrest on May 29, 2012 and prosecution by JAIS.

They are further seeking a declaration for Section 16 of the Syariah Criminal Enactment (Selangor) 1995, regarding the investigation on Mohd Ezra, to be voided, claiming it was inconsistent with Article 10(1)(a) and 8(1) of the Federal Constitution.

Article 10 of the Federal Constitution is related to freedom of speech and expression, right to assemble peaceably and to form associations. — Bernama