Did JAIS Act in Accordance with the Law in BSM Raid?

The STAR reported on 23 Jan 2013 that,

Only police officers with the rank of Inspector or higher are permitted to make seizures without warrants depending on the circumstances. Under Section 62 of the Criminal Proce­dure Code (CPC), only such officers are allowed to enter premises and conduct seizures without warrants, provided they have plausible cause to do so.

According to Selangor CID’s law and prosecution division (D5) officer in charge Deputy Supt Razmi Mohd Gunnos, such seizures were permitted if they suspect that an illegal item is about to be moved and that getting a warrant would allow the suspects to escape.

“Another situation is when a seizure occurs at night or during the weekend when the magistrate’s court is not in session.” “If a crime is in progress, the officer in pursuit can also enter a premises and conduct a seizure of the stolen item without a warrant,” he told The Star yesterday. However, for a planned raid or seizure, police must obtain a warrant under Section 54 of the CPC.”

DSP Razmi explained that planned seizures must be accompanied by a warrant to ensure that any evidence obtained is accepted during court proceedings.

The big question then is, “Did JAIS act in accordance to the law?” If they did not, it would be reasonable to take JAIS to court. It was reported they did not obtain a search warrant. One wonders too, whether any policeman with a rank an Inspector or higher accompanied JAIS and identified themselves according before JAIS entered BSM premises?

It may be noted that the DSP added,

Asked about the Selangor Islamic Religious Department’s (Jais) raid on the Bible Society of Malaysia, DSP Razmi said the officers were acting in accordance with the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propa­gation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988.

“Jais officers have the power to raid and seize in accordance with the law,” he said, adding that the police would assist other enforcement agencies, including Jais, when requested.

Fair enough, since the Control Propagation Act was enacted in the State Assembly. But JAIS must act “in accordance with the law”.  The power given to JAIS’ pertains only to acting on allegation of propagation of other faiths among Muslims. But JAIS acted without plausible cause based on adequate prima facie evidence of propagation of Christian faith among Muslims by BSM. After all the Alkitab is printed for the Bumiputra Christians.

Proper court action would be a good reminder for JAIS to remember its power is restricted to addressing alleged propagation and the Act is no license to harass non-Muslims indiscriminately.

Finally, it is easy for victims of JAIS to be intimidated by the presence of the police accompanying JAIS officials. As such, it would help if the police accompanying JAIS assures BSM or other potential victims of JAIS raids in future that the police are there only to assist JAIS, that is, the police will ensure JAIS and everyone acts in accordance with the law.

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