Terengganu ready to take action in recent challenged Kelantan syariah law case

18 Aug 2023 07:43pm
Muhammad Khalil – Photo by Sinar
Muhammad Khalil – Photo by Sinar
KUALA TERENGGANU - The Terengganu government is ready to play a role regarding the actions of a lawyer and her daughter who challenged the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment.

Information, dakwah and shariah empowerment Exco Dr Muhammad Khalil Abdul Hadi said, it is to ensure that Islamic law continues to be protected honoured.

"At the state government level, we are ready to play a role in protecting the status and honour of Islamic law

"At the same time, I hope there is an immediate plan on the part of the Federal Government to come up with a solution to this worsening situation before the situation becomes more complicated and can no longer be repaired.

"I also hope that the panel of judges at the Federal Court this time will be able to take this opportunity to see and review the previous court decisions that did not raise the position of Islam in the country's legal system to the position it deserves," he said in a post on his Facebook page on Friday.

According to Muhammad Khalil, the state government is taking the case seriously as the court's decision will also have a domino effect on the Terengganu State Syariah Criminal Offense Enactments which also contains the same offenses as challenged by the applicant.

He said that the body which is related to Islam in Terengganu, which is the Council of Islamic Religion and Malay Customs of Terengganu (Maidam) has been accepted to be an observer lawyer for the proceedings of the case.

"I see the implications of this case will not only affect the validity of the EKJS (Syariah Criminal Offenses Enactment), but will also affect the issue of Islamic sovereignty in this country," he said.

He explained that Islamic law is part of the law in Malaysia where that position has been recognised and enshrined in the Federal Constitution when it was drafted.
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He said, the information in the Batu Bersurat regarding the punishment for the offense of adultery also proves that the state of Terengganu has practiced Islamic teachings comprehensively for centuries.

"Islam has been appointed as the federal religion and jurisdiction for syariah law to be retained by the sultans and kings ruling in the states.

"During the 66 years of our country's independence, the structure in the Constitution has been accepted and adopted and even improved by including Article 121(1A) which elevates the position of the Syariah Court.

"However, everything we have built will collapse one by one if the trend of court cases that challenge the state's jurisdiction is allowed to continue without any action from those in authority," he said.

Last Thursday, a panel of nine judges of the Federal Court heard the petition of a lawyer and her daughter who challenged the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment (I) 2019 in an effort to declare 20 provisions of the offense in the enactment null and void.

The Chief Justice, Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat who led the panel sitting heard the petition filed by Nik Elin Zurina Nik Abdul Rashid and Tengku Yasmin Nastasha Tengku Abdul Rahman against the Kelantan State Government.

At the proceedings, the court unanimously rejected the application of the Kelantan Islamic Religious Affairs Department (JAHEIK) to act as an intervener in the hearing of the petition on the grounds that the application was unfounded.

When rejecting the application, Judge Tengku Maimun drew the attention of all parties and insisted that the petition was only related to the interpretation of words in the Federal Constitution and had nothing to do with Islamic doctrine.

In the proceedings, lawyer Datuk Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, who represented both petitioners, argued that the 20 provision of offenses in the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment (I) 2019, overlapped with Federal law which also covers the same offence.

According to the argument, the provision is invalid on the grounds that the Kelantan State Legislature does not have the authority to enact the provision of the law.

Malik Imtiaz's argument was that the 20 disputed provisions of the criminal law are the jurisdiction of Parliament.

Among them are Section 11 (destroying places of worship), Section 13 (selling or giving children to non-Muslims or Muslims of abominable character) and Section 14 (sodomy).

Other provisions include Section 15 (punishment for sodomy), Section 16 (sex with dead bodies), Section 17 (sex with non-human beings) and Section 31 (sexual harassment).

Last May, the Kelantan-born lawyer with her daughter challenged 20 provisions of the offense in the enactment and the case was heard in the Federal Court.
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