Crime & Courts

Landmark judgement to be made on Kelantan syariah criminal enactment today

PUTRAJAYA: The highly anticipated landmark judgment involving Syariah criminal enactment in the country will be revealed today.

The Federal Court, chaired by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, will deliver the verdict on a constitutional challenge initiated by a Muslim mother and her daughter to nullify 18 state provisions under the Kelantan syariah criminal enactment.

The duo contended 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.

The legal challenge had drawn flak from various Islamic religious societies, with some condemning the act and describing it as a betrayal of Islamic principles.

Tengku Maimun during the last proceeding on Nov 20, last year, explained that the Apex Court was not attempting to undermine Islam or the Syariah Court.

She said the issue in the legal dispute concerns the competency of the enactment in Kelantan's Syariah law.

"The issue in this petition is not about undermining the position of Islam or the Syariah Courts in the country.

"The issue arising out of the petition is simply about the competency of the Kelantan State Legislative Assembly to enact the impugned provisions," she said.

The top judge made this statement after one of the lawyers involved in the proceedings publicly made controversial remarks regarding the matter.

Tengku Maimun who led the nine-member bench is expected to read the judgment at 9am.

Other members of the bench were Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim, Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Sebli, and federal court judges Tan Sri Nallini Pathmanathan, Datuk Mary Lim Thiam Suan, Datuk Harmindar Singh Dhaliwal, Datuk Nordin Hassan, and Datuk Abu Bakar Jais.

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 state government as the respondent.

The 18 impugned provisions are:

- Section 11: Destroying or defiling a place of worship

- Section 13: Selling or giving away a child to non-Muslim or morally reprehensible Muslim

- Section 14: Sodomy

- Section 16: Sexual intercourse with a corpse

- Section 17: Sexual intercourse with a non-human

- Section 30: Words capable of breaking peace

- Section 31: Sexual harassment

- Section 34: Possessing false document, giving false evidence, information or statement

- Section 37: Gambling

- Section 39: Reducing scales, measurements and weights

- Section 40: Executing transactions contrary to 'hukum syarak' (syariah law)

- Section 41: Executing transactions via usury

- Section 42: Abuse of halal label and connotation

- Section 43: Offering or providing vice services

- Section 44: Preparatory act of offering or providing vice services

- Section 45: Preparator act of vice

- Section 47: Act of incest

- Section 48: Muncikari (person who acts as a procurer between a female and a male for the purpose which is contrary to hukum syarak).

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