30 March, 2007

Subashini granted temporary injunction to stop husband from syariah court action

R. Subashini's Muslim convert husband has been temporarily prevented from using the syariah court to dissolve their civil marriage, seek custody of their children, and unilaterally convert one child.

In a majority decision today, the Court of Appeal granted Subashini an interim injunction to restrain T. Saravanan, now known by his Muslim name of Muhamad Shafi Saravanan Abdullah, from proceeding with his case at the syariah courts pending the disposal of her application to the Federal Court to hear her appeal of the appeal court's earlier decision.

On March 13, the same Court of Appeal bench, in a majority decision with Justice Gopal Sri Ram dissenting, had dismissed Subashini's appeal to stop Saravanan from dissolving their marriage, seeking custody of their children and unilaterally converting their children to Islam, saying she could seek recourse through the Syariah Appeal Court.

The three-person bench was chaired by Sri Ram, and also comprised Justices Datuk Hasan Lah and Datuk Suriyadi Halim Omar.

Today's injunction order prevents Saravanan from converting his second child, one-year-old Sharvind, to Islam.

The formerly Hindu businessman converted the first child, Dharvin Joshua, to Islam without Subashini's knowledge.

Sri Ram and Hasan allowed the injunction, while Suriyadi dissented but no reason was given for his decision.

Lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, representing Subashini told the court their application for leave to appeal against the March 13 Court of Appeal decision would become pointless if Saravanan proceeded and succeeded with his actions in the syariah court.

"This would render the application for leave and the subsequent appeal nugatory, and deprive Subashini of the fruits of her litigation," said Malik Imtiaz.

He said the effect of the Court of Appeal's majority decision on March 13 was so momentous, in that for the first time the civil courts have told a non-Muslim that she must submit to the syariah courts to be adjudicated according to Islamic law.

The Federal Court, Malik Imtiaz said, ought to be given an opportunity to properly consider the application to appeal.

"It would, therefore, also be in the public interest for the status quo to be preserved," he added.

Suriyadi asked Malik Imtiaz if there had been any attempts by Saravanan to convert the second child.

Malik Imtiaz said, as far as they knew, there was none.

Suriyadi then said, since there was no change to the status quo on the matter, Malik Imtiaz had to provide concrete reasons for his argument.

"You want an injunction, you establish to me the reasons for it. Likewise, I want to approach the case in a clinical manner and not be influenced by external factors," said Suriyadi.

Sri Ram asked if there was still a tussle between Saravanan and Subashini over custody of their children, to which Malik Imtiaz said it has yet to be decided on.

Suriyadi pointed out that an ex-parte interim order had been issued by the Syariah High Court giving custody of the elder son to Saravanan on May 23, 2006.

Lawyer representing Saravanan, Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, said Subashini's application was an attempt to restrain her husband from proceeding to seek recourse through the syariah courts following the March 13 Court of Appeal decision.

Mohamed Khatri Haniff also argued that it should be the Federal Court that heard today's application, but his argument was shot down by Sri Ram who said the Court of Appeal had the authority to do so.

The lawyer also said the move was akin to the court attempting to review its previous decision.

Sri Ram said there was no such attempt.

"This is a very serious encroachment of her rights. Injunctions are normally granted by the courts on the basis of preventing injustice," said Sri Ram.

He also noted that there were no circumstances to show that Saravanan planned to convert Sharvind.

But Malik Imtiaz said there was no guarantee that would not happen, hence the threat still existed.

Following today's interim injunction, Subashini later filed the leave application to the Federal Court.

Haris Mohd Ibrahim, K. Shanmuga and Richard Wee Thiam Seng appeared together with Malik Imtiaz while Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar appeared with Mohamed Haniff Khatri.

Meera Samanther held a watching brief for the Women's Aid Organisation, Women's Centre For Change, Women's Development Collective, Sisters In Islam, All Women's Action Society and the Bar Council, and Ng Chek for the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism.

(From Sun2surf)



Meanwhile, Unspun’s been told that one of Jakarta’s top TV stations, Mero TV, has been interviewing a host of Indonesians including Budi Putra, Wimar Witoelar, Nukman Lutfie and Nila Tanzil on their views about Malaysian Tourism Minister Tengku Adnan’s outburst against bloggers, read here for more details.


Find out from Unspun Why Malaysia’s ministers are blogophobic here.


The government has to find ways to curtail bloggers from abusing the Internet to spread lies and defame the leaders, said Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob (BN-Bera).

"We notice that a lot of bloggers have been sowing the seeds of discord among the races, religions... I believe there must be a limit," he said in a debate on the royal address in the Dewan Rakyat here today.

He felt that there ought to be a law governing bloggers like those imposed on the print and broadcast media.

"The people believe more in the bloggers than the newspapers... I am aware that a newspaper was censured by the Internal Security Ministry for publishing a sensational story but the bloggers could continue churning out malicious stories," he said.

Ismail Sabri also proposed the promulgation of an aerospace policy and law like those of the United Kingdom, Russia, United States and South Africa to protect the government and industry.

"From what I understand, although microsatellites were launched by the private sector, if there were a mishap, the government has to bear the consequences as the application was made by the government," he said.


From Manila Times : "Malaysian Islamic scholars want TV to honor The Prophet"

Something that serious Christians would like to happen in the Philippines this Holy Week: for TV stations to be more respectful of religion.

In Malaysia that’s what Islamic scholars and clerics wish would happen, too. That’s why a tussle is under way over a popular Ma­laysian television talent show after Islamic scholars called for the postponement of its next broadcast, Saturday March 31, which is Prophet Muhammad’s birthday.

The influential muftis have called on private cable operator Astro to delay its Akademi Fantasia program this Saturday, saying it would be disrespectful as Muslims worldwide celebrate the Prophet’s birthday.

“Have respect for Prophet Muhammad’s birthday. Mus­lims will be celebrating that day with readings of the Koran and various religious programs,” the mufti of northern Perak state, Ha­russani Zakaria, was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times last Tuesday.

“We do not want that day to be marred by the concert. Astro can always have it on some other day,” he said.

Akademi Fantasia, which has legions of loyal fans, is a spin-off from a Mexican talent show and features contestants performing in a weekly Saturday concert broadcast live.

Astro Ria, the channel which airs the show, has reportedly refused to reschedule the show, saying the preparations have already been made.

The newspaper said Malaysia’s Islamic Development Department had called on the station to be more sensitive, while another mufti, calling for a postponement, also questioned the show’s worth.

“This program does not help in any way to build the minds of our youngsters or their identities,” northern Perlis state’s mufti, Asri Zainul Abidin, was quoted as saying.

The criticism follows a yearlong ban imposed by state radio and television on a well-known Malaysian actress earlier this month after she compared gossip about one of her relationships to the Prophet Muhammad’s wife.

Her comments sparked outrage from viewers and attracted the attention of the Islamic authorities.

A number of media outlets in the Muslim majority country have also been punished in the past year for content deemed insulting to Islam.


The Cost Of Corruption

Every year, the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, the same group that holds the high-powered annual meeting in Davos, publishes a Global Competitiveness Report.

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