Sunday, 26 February 2012

Judges, Throw the book at Hoslan!


ON THE BEAT By WONG CHUN WAI 

By not taking action against him, the judges have sent a wrong message to Malaysians.

IT’S incredible that an imam who threw his slippers at judges was not cited for contempt of court on the spot. If we talk about respecting and upholding the law, the judges should have just thrown the book at him, so to speak. 

The imam, Tuan Haji Hoslan Haji Hussain, got himself in the limelight last week when he lost control after his application for the Federal Court in Putrajaya to hear his appeal was rejected. He said he was frustrated when documents he had tendered were rejected as they were not sent within the stipulated time.

Hoslan’s problem started when he was removed as the imam of Masjid Al-Rahimah in Kampung Pandan in 2008. Then, in June last year, the Federal Territory Religious Council obtained a court order forcing him to vacate the imam’s quarters where he had been staying for a decade with his seven children.

The FT Religious Council obviously had a disciplinary problem with this former al-Arqam follower but Hoslan, in turn, claimed he had tendered documents alleging irregularities in handling mosque funds.

When the panel of judges heard this case on Wednesday, Hoslan threw a slipper, followed by the other one, at the judges. He then threw his ihram (a piece of white cloth) on the floor and performed the sunat prayer. His actions caused more than a stir.

Police later escorted him out of the court and he was told the judges had decided not to take action against him.

There was only one reporter who witnessed the incident and the judges sought his cooperation not to publish it. So, if not for the online news portal The Malaysian Insider, we would all have missed this unprecedented incident.

Calls by the other media to the offices of the registrar and judges were not returned when they tried to follow up on the report the following day. Only Hoslan seemed to enjoy the attention he was getting from the media.

The three-member panel of judges comprised Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin, who is Chief Judge of Malaya, Datuk Suriyadi Halim Omar and Datin Paduka Zaleha Zahari.

Obviously, the judges have shown compassion, tolerance and liberalism by not wanting to punish the guy. But in doing so, they have sent a wrong message to Malaysians.

They could at least have reprimanded him instead of pretending the incident did not happen and hoping that the media would not become aware of it.

It’s as good as telling us that it was okay for Hoslan to throw his slippers at the judges and then bad-mouthing them to the media outside the court.

It was only after this unfortunate episode became public knowledge that deputy registrar Jumirah Marzuki lodged a report against Hoslan – on Friday, two days later.

More incredibly, she was quoted as saying that she lodged the report because the second slipper which Hoslan had flung towards the Bench had hit her!

Come on, I am not sure whether she expected Malaysians, including the police, to share her disappointment or to laugh at her decision.

Justice Zulkefli has told the media “to let the police investigate”.

Let’s hope the police will not have to take a decade to investigate this open-and-shut case involving an irate man who really needs to have his head examined.

Zulkefli is spoken about affectionately by most court reporters, who describe him as a “kind person”. So they were not surprised when he said “the panel did not make any decision to cite Hoslan for contempt of court as it does not serve any purpose. We do not want to get into the drama. It will complicate the matter further.”

But there are some fundamental issues here. First, the Federal Court is the highest in the country. Two, the panel was led by the second highest judge.

Hoslan does not deserve to be treated like a hero for throwing his slippers at these top judges. By not taking action on the spot, our honourable judges may send the message that they did not mind the action of this man.

No one should be allowed to go scot-free for throwing things at the Bench because they are unhappy, angry, sad or insane. In law, students rely on past court cases or precedents. Well, this is one precedent of a man who threw his slippers at the judges and got away with it.

There is no other way in this case. Hoslan should be taken back to the court and punished. The fact that he is a religious figure should also be taken into consideration. He should have been more composed and exemplary instead of behaving in an outrageous manner.

Throw the book at him!

Frustrated imam ‘bares his sole’

By SIRA HABIBU and M. MAGESWARI newsdesk@thestar.com.my

PETALING JAYA: The imam who threw his slippers at judges claimed that he did it out of frustration.

Hoslan Hussain, 46, said he was extremely frustrated because documents he had tendered at the Federal Court had been rejected because they were not sent within the stipulated time.

“But there was no objection earlier during the case management. The case was rejected because the respondent MAIWP (Federal Territory Religious Council) objected,” he said.

Hoslan, a former Al-Arqam follower, created a stir when he threw his slippers at the panel of judges at the Federal Court on Wednesday.

“I became angry. I threw a slipper. I do not know who was hit.

“Then I threw another slipper. And after that I threw my ihram (a piece of white cloth) onto the floor and performed sunat prayer,” he said.

Hoslan said the police later escorted him out of the court and told him the judges had decided not to take action against him for contempt of court.

“I walked out barefoot,” he said.

Hoslan had tendered the documents alleging irregularities in handling mosque funds.

MAIWP had removed him as the imam of the Masjid Al-Rahimah in May 2008, and in June last year, obtained a court order forcing him to vacate the imam quarters where he had been staying for a decade with his seven children.

The Appeal Court and the Federal Court had upheld the High Court decision.

The three-member panel of judges comprised Tan Sri Datuk Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin, Datuk Suriadi Halim Omar and Datin Zaleha Zahari.

In Kuala Lumpur, a deputy registrar of the Federal Court lodged a police report yesterday over the slipper-throwing incident.

Deputy registrar Jumirah Marzuki lodged the report against Hoslan as the second slipper which he had flung towards the Bench had hit her.

Justice Zulkefli confirmed that the report had been lodged. “Let the police investigate,” he said.

Asked about the incident, Justice Zulkefli said the panel did not make any decision to cite Hoslan for contempt of court as “it does not serve any purpose. We do not want to get into the drama. It will complicate the matter further”.

Head of corporate communications and international relations Mohd Aizuddin Zolkeply said the Chief Registrar’s office of the Federal Court denied any allegations by Hoslan, including that he had been denied his right to be heard fairly.

“It is unfounded. Our office has all recordings for hearings at the Federal Court,” he said.

Mohd Aizuddin said the judiciary took seriously matters which could tarnish its image.

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