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SIS seeks judicial review over book ban

KUALA LUMPUR, 21 May 2009: The High Court (Appeals and Special Powers Division) today heard an application by Sisters in Islam (SIS) Forum (Malaysia) for a judicial review over the banning of a book since 2008.

Lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, who represented SIS, submitted that the court should overturn the ban order issued by the home minister on the book titled Muslim Women and the Challenge of Islamic Extremism, which was published in 2005.

He said the banning of the book by Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, the home minister then, was ultra vires the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and Articles 8(2), 10(1)(a) and 11(4) of the Federal Consitution.

SIS filed the application last 15 Dec and had named Syed Hamid as the respondent.

“The ban in any event is ultra vires since the book is no threat to public order being a collection of academic works on the role of women in Islamic society which had been in circulation for almost three years prior to the ban, and as such is contrary to the applicant’s rights under article 10(1)(a) Federal Constitution to freedom of expression,” said Malik Imtiaz.

Malik Imtiaz also said the book had been in circulation for more than two years before the respondent had banned it without prior notice to the applicant and without calling for a hearing.

Senior Federal Counsel Noorhisham Ismail, who represented the respondent, applied for a postponement for them to make a counter-submission.

Judicial Commissioner Tuan Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof set 24 June for the next hearing. — Bernama

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