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PUTRAJAYA: Borders bookstores owners, Berjaya Books Sdn Bhd, and two others have obtained an order from the Court of Appeal to temporarily stay Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department's (Jawi) further action over the seizure of Irshad Manji's controversial book.
A three-member Court of Appeal bench by Datuk Abdul Malik Ishak unanimously allowed the interim stay until the disposal of the appeal brought by Berjaya Books and the two applicants following the High Court's refusal to grant them a stay.
Abdul Malik also ordered the applicants to quickly prepare the record of appeal for an early hearing date.
The stay application was made by Berjaya Books, Borders general manager of operations and merchandising, Stephen Fung Wye Keong, and its store manager at The Gardens in Mid Valley City, Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz.
Following the interim stay, Jawi is prohibited from, among others, searching and seizing the publications at their premises and order their staff to give evidence under the Syariah Criminal Procedure Act.
On June 25, Berjaya Books, Fung and Nik Raina obtained leave from the High Court to initiate a judicial review proceeding to challenge the seizure of the books by Jawi.
The three want an order to quash the decision by Jawi officers in raiding, searching and seizing the book, 'Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta' and 'Allah, Liberty and Love' on May 23 at the Borders bookstore at The Gardens.
They also want a order to quash a decision to prosecute Nik Raina at the Syariah High Court for distributing the book.
However, on July 31 the High Court in Kuala Lumpur dismissed the judicial review application to stay any action by Jawi.
Earlier, counsel Rosli Dahlan representing the applicants submitted that there were special circumstances to grant an interim stay order to preserve the status quo of parties as the judicial review proceeding has yet to be heard.
Senior Federal Counsel Effandi Nazila Abdullah, appearing for Jawi and the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of Islamic Religious Affairs, submitted that the subject matter came under the jurisdiction of the Syariah court, not the civil court, as it touched on religious issue.