Federal Court sets Aug 21 to hear SIS Forum’s leave application to appeal

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court will hear on Aug 21 an application by woman’s rights group SIS Forum (Malaysia) for leave to appeal in a bid to quash a fatwa (edict) issued by the Selangor religious authorities that labelled the group as deviant from the teachings of Islam.

This was confirmed by SIS Forum’s counsel, A. Surendra Ananth, and lawyer Yusfarizal Yussoff, who is representing the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais), when contacted by Bernama.

On March 14 this year, the Court of Appeal, in a 2-1 majority decision, dismissed the appeal brought by SIS Forum and one of its co-founders, Zainah Mahfoozah Anwar, to quash the fatwa.

The Court of Appeal held that the fatwa prepared by the Selangor Fatwa Committee was not a final decision and thus cannot be challenged through a judicial review application.

SIS Forum and Zainah appealed to the Court of Appeal after failing in their bid to quash the fatwa at the High Court, which dismissed their judicial review application on Aug 27, 2019.

In civil cases, litigants are required to obtain leave before they can proceed with appeals to the Federal Court.

The fatwa, gazetted by the Selangor State government on July 31, 2014, had declared that SIS Forum, any individual, as well as groups that adopted the deviant ideologies of liberalism and pluralism, were deviating from the teachings of Islam.

The fatwa also directed that any publications containing liberal and plural views of Islam should be banned and confiscated and further directs the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to censor social websites which go against Islamic teachings and the hukum syarak.

In the notice of motion requesting the leave, the SIS Forum proposed 10 questions of law for the Federal Court to decide.

One of the questions is whether a fatwa, once published in the Gazette under Section 48(6) of the Administration of the Religion of Islam (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003, is a form of subsidiary law and/or a delegated legislation? - Bernama

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