Lack of cooperation unusual in Jawi raids, says officer in Siti Kasim hearing

Danial Dzulkifly
Lawyer Siti Kasim leaves the court after finished the proceeding against the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) in Kuala Lumpur September 6, 2018. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 6 — A Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) enforcement officer — testifying in court against lawyer Siti Kasim for alleged obstruction of duty — said the situation was unusual during a 2016 raid on a transgender beauty pageant.

Akmal Nadzim Abdullah, who was the operations chief during the raid on the event in a hotel here, said today that he did not receive any cooperation from the attendees, which was unusual for a Jawi raid.

“Based on the case that happened that night, it occurred in an unexpected and extraordinary situation. Usually, when we conduct raids at clubs, karaoke joints and entertainment outlets, people on the premises will cooperate.

“We were supposed to have officers in-charge at the entrance of the hall but because of an unexpected commotion, that did not happen as planned. This happened because there were people on the premises who obstructed the duties of the officers,” he said.

Akmal was giving evidence during the examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Hafizza Sauni at the trial of Siti Kasim, who was charged for allegedly obstructing a public officer during a raid on a transgender beauty pageant by Jawi on April 3, 2016.

Akmal also explained that he and 15 other officers conducted the raid following a complaint received on March 2, 2016.

The complaint was then classified under Section 9 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act 1997 (Act 559), which deals with contempt or defiance of religious authorities, including fatwas.

Akmal explained that there was a fatwa gazetted February 8, 1996 in the Federal Territories that makes it haram for Muslims to participate, sponsor or host beauty pageants.

Akmal also testified that the beauty pageant was going on when the officers arrived at the venue.

“I saw clearly that there was a group of 20 people standing on the stage and we felt that they were the participants based on their attire, among them, scarves and crowns,” he said, adding that there were some 100 people in attendance as spectators.

Later, Akmal identified Siti Kasim as the person who approached him during the raid and asked for his identification and purpose of the raid.

He explained that he had shown his authority card to her and explained that the raid was done to investigate the beauty pageant under Section 9 of Act 559.

Siti was charged for the offence under Section 186 of the Penal Code, which is punishable by two years in prison, an RM10,000 fine, or both upon conviction.

The hearing continues on October 15.

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