PETALING JAYA: The Perlis mufti has submitted an appeal letter to allow a non-Muslim to practise as a syariah lawyer in the state.
The letter, sighted by The Star, states that the Perlis Mufti Department received a request letter from lawyer Victoria Jayaseele Martin of Kuala Lumpur, to allow her to practise as a syariah lawyer in Perlis.
“After looking at all the certificates and qualification in syariah, I, as the Mufti of Perlis and a member of the state Syariah Lawyers Committee, as well as its interview panel, support her application,” said Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin in the letter.
The letter dated May 4 was forwarded to the Syariah Chief Judge’s office.
Dr Mohd Asri believed that there was no contradiction against Islam for the lawyer to practise as a syariah lawyer based on Islamic laws.
“We also took note that all decisions are made by the judges and not the lawyers.
“With concrete evidence and reasons, Insyallah, I will present it in the upcoming Syariah Lawyers Committee council meeting,” said Dr Mohd Asri.
The Perlis mufti also urged the Syariah Chief Judge to consider calling her for an interview just like any other candidate.
In a landmark judgment in March last year, the Federal Court ruled that only Muslims could practise as Syariah lawyers, ending Martin’s bid to appear in the Syariah courts in the Federal Terrorities.
In a 3-2 majority decision, the apex court held that the ruling was constitutional, and that the profession was based on the concept of Islamic belief in Allah.
Court of Appeal president Justice Md Raus Sharif, who wrote the majority decision, said it was important to have a syarie lawyer who professed the religion of Islam to achieve the objective of the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act.
The case was brought by Martin who has a Master’s degree in Comparative Law from the International Islamic University.
Martin turned to the Court of Appeal after she lost her bid at the High Court on March 17, 2011, to challenge the assertion that a syariah lawyer in Kuala Lumpur should be a Muslim.
Martin, 52, had on Aug 24, 2009, applied to practise as a syariah lawyer in the Federal Territory but was rejected on Sept 9, 2009, on the grounds that she was not a person who professed Islam as required by Rule 10 of the Rules for Syariah Lawyers.