Parties to argue over whether court has jurisdiction over fatwa


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 03 Aug 2010

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has ordered parties to argue if a civil court has jurisdiction to decide on an application by a company to invalidate a ruling issued by the Federal Territories mufti that its training programme was in conflict with Islamic teaching.

High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Mohd Zawawi Salleh set Aug 10 for the parties to submit their arguments.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, the company’s lawyers Abu Bakar Jais and Helmi Hamzah said the judge has asked the parties to serve the papers over the issue.

“Only if the court is satisfied that it has jurisdiction, it will hear the merits of the case,” Helmi added.

SFC Natra Idris acted for the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

The company - ESQ Leadership Center Sdn Bhd provides human capital training and was founded by Indonesian Dr Ary Ginanjar Agustian.

Federal Territories (FT) mufti Datuk Wan Zahidi Wan Teh had issued a fatwa against ESQ on June 17 because its training contradicts Islamic teachings.

The training was said to emphasise “conscience” as the main source to determine the good and bad aspects of an action.

The fatwa was published in the Government Gazette on June 17.

ESQ Leadership filed an application for judicial review on July 26, naming the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council and FT mufti as respondents.

In the leave application, ESQ Leadership is challenging the procedure applied by the mufti in issuing the fatwa and whether the publication was done in accordance with Section 31, 33 and 34 of the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act 1993.

ESQ stated that Section 31 and 33 provides, among others, that the council has to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on all matters related to the Islamic religion. Section 34 states that the mufti has to get an order from the King first before the fatwa is issued.

The applicant is asking for a declaration that the fatwa and the publication was invalid. In an affidavit, ESQ general manager Marhaini Yusoff stated that the applicant was not given the right to be heard before the fatwa was made.

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