AGC files appeal over Maria Chin's leave to challenge Syariah Court's committal proceedings

15 Sep 2022 08:51pm
Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah
Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah

KUALA LUMPUR - The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) has filed an appeal against the High Court's decision in allowing Petaling Jaya Member of Parliament Maria Chin Abdullah to challenge the Syariah High Court's decision over the committal proceedings against her.

The contempt proceedings was brought against Maria for her criticism of the Syariah High Court's decision in imposing a jail term on Emilia Hanafi, who is the former wife of businessman Datuk SM Faisal SM Nasimuddin.

Based on the notice of appeal obtained through a search of the court system, the AGC filed the notice in the Court of Appeal on Sept 9 because it was not satisfied with the High Court’s overall decision on Aug 22.

Senior federal counsel Ahmad Hanir Hambaly who represented the AGC confirmed the matter.

On Aug 22, Judge Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh allowed Maria’s leave application for a judicial review after ruling that she had not challenged any part of the Islamic law that falls within the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court but she was challenging the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court over the committal proceedings against her.

The application to initiate the committal proceedings was filed by SM Faisal following Maria’s comment which questioned the court’s decision in imposing a seven-day jail sentence on his ex-wife, Emilia Hanafi, for rescheduling the visitation rights given to him on her own.

Meanwhile, SM Faisal’s lawyer, Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kader when contacted said during the case management before Judge Wan Ahmad Farid held online today, the court set Nov 2 to hear his client's application to intervene in the judicial review.

Maria, 65, filed the application on March 3 last year, naming Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Islamic Religious Affairs) at that time Datuk Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri; Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) and Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur Syariah Judiciary Department as the first to third respondents.

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Maria, among other things, applied for the civil high court to quash the action and decision of the Syariah High Court on Oct 14, 2019, which she claimed had wrongly allowed the committal order and for a show cause notice to be issued on her, as it was against the provisions of the Federal Constitution and violated Rule 52 of the Rules of Court 2012 and the Syariah Court Civil Procedure (Federal Territories) Act 1998.

On Dec 4, 2020, Maria was ordered to show cause in the committal proceedings, as to why she should not be charged with contempt of court for criticising the Syariah High Court's decision.

This was due to the court rejecting her application for an extension of time to challenge the court's decision to allow committal proceedings to be initiated against her. - BERNAMA