Syariah Lawyers Association (PGSM) president Musa Awang agrees with the suggestion made by Wanita Umno Chief Tan Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil to empower the Syariah Courts. Pix by MOHD ASYRAF SAWAL.

KUALA LUMPUR: Syariah lawyers agree with the recommendations of Tan Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil to empower the Syariah courts and enhance them to become equivalent to civil courts, said Syariah Lawyers Association (PGSM) president Musa Awang.

Musa said Syariah law implementation in the country is weak due to the constraints of authority, staff, legal powers, regulatory diversity and lack of uniformity.

He said one of the challenges for Syariah lawyers is that each state has its own set of rules and regulations governing its practices - something which has discouraged graduates from applying to become Syariah lawyers.

“Every state has its own set of rules, different qualifications, different exams, different interviews, as well as their own admission processes.

“Therefore, we agree with the proposal to form a Syariah Bar Council, an independent body to supervise and control the eligibility and admissions of Syariah lawyers,” Musa told New Straits Times.

He said Syariah law could be strengthened by giving more power to the Syariah criminal punishment jurisdiction of the Syariah court “(For example, conflicts occur over) the jurisdiction on issuing legal administer (LA) and dividing the property-inheritance of Muslims, and the jurisdiction to try the cases of Islamic muamalat or Islamic banking,” he said.

Echoing Musa is Syariah lawyer Fakhrul Azman, who agreed to empower the Syariah court with further authority and jurisdiction.

“The area of enforcement needs to be enhanced to make it on par with civil courts.

“People still do not take it seriously when they receive a summons from the Syariah court, compared to the paper they receive from the civil court.

“I believe equal authority should also be given to the Syariah court, and for that matter, the introduction of a private bill to increase the jurisdiction of Syariah courts is welcomed,” Fakhrul said.

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