SHAH ALAM: A magistrate has dismissed an application by a former air steward to commence private prosecution against two Muslim converts for allegedly insulting non-Islamic faiths and their religious practices, because the matter is still under investigation.
Magistrate Mohamad Redza Azhar Rezali said S Shashi Kumar’s complaint could also not be entertained as Firdaus Wong and Muhammad Zamri Vinoth Kalimuthu had committed a seizable offence.
“The application is dismissed because police are said to be still investigating,” he said in his ruling.
Redza said he took note of the information provided by deputy public prosecutor Ainul Amirah Abdul Razak who appeared before him in April.
Ainul Amirah had said police were still investigating the reports under Section 298A of the Penal Code.
That provision states one could be charged with promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion or race or for acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony.
Those found guilty can be jailed for a minimum two years and a maximum five years.
Redza said the court would be interfering in the ongoing investigation if Shashi’s complaint was heard.
“It is the attorney-general who has the discretion whether to prosecute after an investigation,” he said.
Moreover, he said the court could not conduct an inquiry as it did not have the necessary information.
“The complainant must go through the investigation process which is under the police,” he added.
Redza said Section 298A was a seizable offence and police could arrest and detain suspects.
“The complaint made under Section 133 of the Criminal Procedure Code is only applicable for non-seizable offences,” he added.
Shashi initiated the action against Firdaus, who is the president and founder of the Multiracial Reverted Muslims (MRM), and Zamri, both said to be associated with controversial preacher Zakir Naik.
Firdaus is said to have insulted non-Islamic religions, particularly the Hindu faith, through his Facebook and YouTube postings.
In a statutory declaration (SD), Shashi said he had made a police report against Firdaus in January 2018 after having seen the contents on both the social media platforms.
“The contents have given rise to hatred and insults toward non-Muslims in Malaysia, and are likely to cause breach of peace,” he said, adding that many others had also made similar reports.
Shashi said he sent a memorandum to then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the home, communications and multimedia, and national unity ministers, in addition to the Islamic Affairs department and the attorney-general’s chambers in October 2018.
In a separate SD, Shashi said he had also lodged a police report against Zamri, a freelance preacher, in June last year for allegedly insulting the rituals and practices of Hinduism on his Facebook account which had gone viral.
“His posting is likely to cause hatred and upset the religious harmony among the people of different faiths,” he said.
Shashi said he had inquired with the police on the status of his reports against the two but there was no response.
Lawyer T Gunaseelan, who is assisted by S Ravichandran, said an appeal would be filed.