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High Court Dismisses Review By Alleged Shia Novelist

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KUALA LUMPUR: A High Court has dismissed a judicial review by novelist Faisal Tehrani who challenged the Home Ministry’s ban of his four books for allegedly spreading Shia teachings.

In rejecting the judicial review, High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Hanipah Farikullah ordered the novelist to pay RM5,000 in costs to Home Minister.

Speaking to reporters later, Senior Federal Counsel Shamsul Bolhassan, who acted for the Home Minister, said the judge found that the order to ban the books was reasonable.

“The court found that the Home Minister have not acted beyond his powers in banning those books,” said SFC Shamsul.

The books are Sebongkah Batu di Kuala Berang published by PTS Litera Utama Sdn Bhd; Karbala published by Abeerden Books World and Tiga Kali Seminggu and Ingin Jadi Nasrallah published by Al-Ameen Serve Holdings Sdn Bhd.

Faisal Tehrani, whose real name is Mohd Faizal Musa, 42, has named the Home MinIster as the sole respondent in his application for judicial review proceedings filed on June 29, last year.

Faisal sought for a court order to set aside the ban issued by the Home Minister against his four books under the Printing Presses and Publications (Control of Undesirable Publications) Order 2015.

He also sought a declaration that the order which was made on Feb 12 last year was invalid as it was in contradiction to Article 8(1) and Article 10 (1)(a) of the Federal Constitution which guaranteed on equality before the law and right to freedom.of speech and expression.

Faisal, who is also an academician at a public university, also applied for a declaration that the order imposed on his books was irrational and ultra vires as it contrary to Section 7 of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.

In his affidavit, Faisal said the order was irrational as the four books had been distributed for between four and seven years without causing any prejudice to public order and safety.

He said the order was issued on the grounds that his four books were likely to be prejudicial to public order and safety, adding that he only learnt about it after reading a news report on May 5.

Faisal said that on Dec 3, 2013, he had received a letter from the Home Ministry stating that the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) had certified the ban against his four books.

He said the Home Ministry had invited him to attend a meeting to discuss the publication of the books.

The lecturer said he had answered a letter from the Home Ministry dated Dec 3, 2013, stating that Jakim had no authority to order any ban on those publications and that there had been no issue regarding the publication of the books.

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