Mohd Na'im: Court's decision on Nik Elin's case does not affect syariah court

KUALA LUMPUR: All stakeholders and parties involved with the Syariah Court will be promptly convened to discuss and assess the next steps for its empowerment, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Dr Mohd Na'im Mokhtar.

He also gave the assurance that if there was a need for amendment or reform of the law related to the Syariah Court, it would be done immediately.

Calling on all parties to remain calm and not do any provocation, the former Chief Syariah Judge said the decision made by the Federal Court today over a constitutional challenge to the Kelantan Syariah law did not affect the position of the Syariah Court in the country.

He said the position of the Syariah Court in Malaysia remained intact as guaranteed in the constitution.

"The Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) assured Muslims that the Syariah Court will remain and its position continues to be guaranteed by the provisions in the Federal Constitution," he said in a statement today (Feb 9).

The Federal Court in an 8-1 majority decision today ruled that 16 provisions in the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment 2019 as null and void.The landmark decision was delivered by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat who led a panel of nine judges after allowing an application by Nik Elin Zurina Nik Abdul Rashid, who hails from Kelantan, and her daughter, Tengku Yasmin Nastasha Abdul Rahman, to challenge the constitutionality and legality of 18 provisions in the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code (1) Enactment 2019.

The two women claimed that the Kelantan State Legislative Assembly (DUN) does not have the authority to legislate on the 18 offences because there is a Federal law that covers such offences.

They filed the petition to the Federal Court under Article 4(4) of the Federal Constitution and named the Kelantan government as the sole respondent.

Mohd Na'im said as an immediate action, he had instructed the Malaysian Islamic Development Department together with the Malaysian Syariah Judiciary Department to get a written judgment on the case.

"After studying the grounds of the judgment, plans will be made to ensure that the agenda of improving and empowering the Syariah Court will continue to be carried out in Malaysia.

"Some adjustments to existing plans will also be implemented in line with the outcome of the case," he said.

In the meantime, Mohd Na'im said the Special Committee to Review the Competency of the State Legislature to Enact Islamic Law will study issues related to the competency of the State Legislative Assemblies, as well as the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court as provided under item 1, List II-State List, Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

"The results of the study, views and recommendations by the Special Committee will be presented in the Malaysian National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs (MKI) and the Conference of Rulers," he said.

Mohd Na'im said he would also request an audience with His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim King of Malaysia, the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Nazrin Shah, the Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah as chairman of the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs and the Malay Rulers to present today's court decision. — Bernama

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