Court grants lawyer leave


PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court yesterday granted leave to lawyer Datuk Zaid Ibrahim to challenge the validity of the Terengganu Syariah Criminal Enactment (Hudud and Qisas), which was gazetted on Oct 27. 

Justice Datuk Pajan Singh Gill held that Zaid, who is Kelantan Umno deputy chief, had satisfied the court that leave was necessary and that he had an arguable case. 

“The application is not frivolous. This case is of public importance as it affects the liberty of subjects,” said Justice Pajan Singh Gill, in granting leave to Zaid to file a petition seeking to declare Terengganu’s hudud law null and void under the Federal Constitution. 

Earlier, Justice Pajan Singh Gill, who sat alone, also allowed Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail’s application to intervene in the proceedings on behalf of the Federal Government.  

During his submission, Abdul Gani argued that the issues before the court were matters involving public interest and thus the involvement of the Attorney-General as the guardian of public interest was necessary. 

“We cannot allow public interest to be at stake and it is thus of public interest that this matter be settled once and for all,” added Abdul Gani, when supporting Zaid’s application.  

Zaid’s lawyer Malik Imtiaz, in agreeing with Abdul Gani’s submission, said the basis of his client’s application was that the legislation was outside the jurisdiction and power of the Terengganu State Legislature. 

“The legislation effectively changes in mid-stream the way of life of the residents in Terengganu and it not only has an impact on the citizens of the rest of Malaysia but also those who currently reside and/or work in Terengganu,” said Malik. 

Datuk Dr Cyrus Das, who held a watching for the Bar Council, supported the application.  

He said it was of public interest and the Bar had expressed concern that the legislation would violate the Federal Constitution.  

Sulaiman Abdullah, who appeared for the Terengganu government, disagreed with Zaid's application. 

“You can’t say every single provision in the enactment is invalid. You have to specify which one is and show how it is an infringement of the Federal Constitution. 

“The Terengganu government has no intention of violating nor oppressing the Federal Constitution,” said Sulaiman, adding that the state government had the power to pass legislation relating to Islamic law. 

Zaid had filed the application on Oct 22, stating that the provision of the Syariah Criminal Offence (Hudud and Qisas) Terengganu Enactment passed by the Terengganu State Legislative Assembly was unconstitutional, and that Terengganu had no legislative power to make any such law.  

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