Crime & Courts

More than 1,000 protest constitutional challenge to Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code

PUTRAJAYA: More than 1,000 people gathered in front of the Palace of Justice here to protest a constitutional challenge against certain provisions within the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code.

Several opposition political bigwigs were also seen at the gathering, including Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Nassuruddin Daud and his deputy Datuk Dr Mohamed Fadzli Hassan, Pas deputy president Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, Pas secretary-general Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan and Putrajaya member of parliament Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin.

Earlier, Nassurudin participated in a solat hajat in front of the building in Presint 2, joined by over 800 people.

The building was cordoned off, with several policemen present at the scene to control the crowd.

Today, the Federal Court will resume hearing arguments on a constitutional challenge brought by a mother and daughter pairing last year that 20 provisions contained in the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code (I) Enactment 2019 are unconstitutional.

The constitutional challenge was initiated by Nik Elin Zurina Nik Abdul Rashid, a lawyer born in Kelantan, and her daughter Tengku Yasmin Nastasha Tengku Abdul Rahman, on May 25, 2022.

They utilised Article 4(4) of the Federal Constitution to directly approach the Federal Court, listing the Kelantan government as the respondent.

The duo contend that the power to legislate on criminal matters belongs exclusively to Parliament, with state assemblies only given the right to enact laws concerning the Islamic faith.

Article 4(4) enables the apex court to assess the validity of laws enacted by Parliament or a state legislature if it is believed that these bodies exceeded their legislative authority.

The direct appeal to the Federal Court was chosen due to its exclusive jurisdiction granted by Article 128(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution for such matters.

In the case of constitutional challenges pursued through the Article 4(4) channel, permission or leave from a Federal Court judge is required to initiate the process.

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