Press Briefing: Syariah Criminal Trial of Maslinda binti Ishak

Press Coverage of Syariah Criminal Trial of Maslinda binti Ishak
23 June 2003

The hearing of Maslinda binti Ishak’s (defendant) case has been set on:

Date: 24 June 2003
Time: 9.00am
Venue: Syariah High Court, Jalan Damansara, Kuala Lumpur (next to KTM Station).

The defendant was charged under Section 19 and Section 35 of the Syariah Criminal Offences Act (Wilayah Persekutuan) 1997, to be read with Section 43 of the same Act. She was charged for abetting another to commit the offence of drinking and selling alcohol, and committing vice (maksiat).

Section 19 states that it is an offence for anyone to consume (Section 19(1)); make, sell, offer or exhibit for sale intoxicating drink (Section 19(2)), and Section 35 states that it is an offence for anyone to promote, induce or encourage another person to commit vice (maksiat). Section 43 states that a person is abetting “the doing of a thing” if he instigates, engages, or intentionally aids another in “the doing of that thing”.

If the defendant is found guilty under Section 19(1), she may be jailed for a term not more than two years and/or up to RM3,000 fine, and under Section 19(2), she may be jailed for a term not more than three years and/or up to RM5,000 fine. If found guilty under Section 35, she may be jailed for not more than three years and/or up to RM5,000 fine.

On 10 June 2003, the defendant was ordered by the Federal Territory Religious Affairs Department (JAWI) to appear at the Enforcement and Prosecution Office, to give evidence in accordance with the Syariah Criminal Procedure Act (Wilayah Persekutuan) 1997. The defendant was questioned for three and half hours by the Religious Enforcement Officers and her lawyer was not allowed to be present during the interrogation. She was then brought to the Syariah High Court in Wilayah Persekutuan and was required to post bail to ensure her attendance for a hearing scheduled on 24 June 2003.

Case Description for Background Information

Maslinda binti Ishak, a guest relations officer was one of the many persons detained by the Federal Territory Religious Affairs Department (JAWI) on 21 March 2003. JAWI was conducting raids of nightspots with the assistance of Volunteer Reserve Corps (RELA). The team of enforcement officers had raided the club where the defendant was working. She and some of her friends were rounded up and taken away in a truck. Men and women who were rounded up were put in the same truck. There were no female enforcement officers during the raid.

The enforcement team then continued raiding more nightspots.

The defendant then asked permission from one of the officers to go to the toilet, but he scolded her and told her to ease herself in the truck. She then asked her friends to form a circle to shield her and covered herself with a black shawl (selendang). At this point a member of the enforcement team, Mohamad Tahir Osman, entered the truck through the back door and shoved the defendant’s friends aside, pulled away the shawl and photographed her. The defendant was photographed a few times.

The defendant and the other detainees were brought to JAWI and their particulars were taken. All of them were released but none was informed of the offences they had allegedly committted. The defendant then lodged a police report on the incident at the Cheras police station on 27 March 2003.

Mohamad Tahir Osman who is a member of the RELA was identified by the defendant as the person who had photographed her. He was brought to the Kuala Lumpur Magistrates Court where he pleaded guilty to the offence of insulting the modesty of the defendant. The Court sentenced him to four months’ jail on 16 April 2003. He is currently serving the jail term.

On 25 April 2003, Maslinda binti Ishak had filed a civil suit against Mohamad Tahir Osman, RELA, JAWI and the Malaysian Government, claiming negligence on the part of the defendants and seeking damages.

On 19 May 2003, Maslinda binti Ishak filed a revision application in the High Court of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur. In her application she is seeking for a revision of the four months sentence that was imposed on Mohamad Tahir Osman.

On 20 May 2003, JAWI served a notice on Maslinda binti Ishak to be investigated for the two cases: abetting in the sale and purchase of alcohol and in encouraging vice.

Thank you for your support.

Sisters in Islam

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