Be mature leaders and stop spreading fear over apex court ruling, Muda tells Perikatan

PETALING JAYA: Perikatan Nasional leaders should stop spreading fear among Kelantan folk following the Federal Court's nullification of 16 provisions under the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment 2019, says the Kelantan arm of Muda.

Its information chief Abdul Rahman Khairuddin said Perikatan chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, as a former prime minister, should set an example by displaying mature political values instead of spreading propaganda.

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He was referring to a statement Muhyiddin made on Friday (Feb 9), claiming the apex court's decision to strike down the 16 provisions meant "actions contrary to Islamic law such as offering sinful services, close proximity, incest and drinking alcohol are no longer considered offences for Muslims in the state of Kelantan.”

Abdul Rahman said in a statement on Monday (Feb 12) that "It is important for us to preserve harmony among the public following the (decision).

"We urge the people to remain calm and not be influenced by negative propaganda spread by irresponsible individuals.

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“(The judgment) has no direct connection with... (the claims that) Kelantan folk are now free to commit sins, (nor does it mean) the collapse of the Islamic justice institution," he said.

Abdul Rahman also pointed out that the 16 provisions declared null and void did not mean the people now had freedom to engage in the acts they proscribed.

These acts were still crimes under the Penal Code and the penalties involved could be even heavier, he added.

"For example, offences related to sodomy would provide a maximum prison sentence of 20 years plus caning, while the Kelantan enactment provided for a maximum (prison sentence) of no more than three years.

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“Even though some provisions in the Kelantan enactment have been cancelled, the overall institution of the Syariah Court remains intact, ensuring justice within the system,” he added.

On Friday (Feb 9), the Federal Court, in an 8-1 majority decision, ruled that 16 provisions of offences under the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment (1) 2019 were null and void on the grounds that the state legislature did not have the power to enact laws on said offences because there were federal laws covering the same matters.

The Federal Court made the ruling after allowing a petition filed by lawyer Nik Elin Zurina Nik Abdul Rashid and her daughter, Tengku Yasmin Nastasha Tengku Abdul Rahman, to challenge the constitutionality and legality of 18 provisions of offences under the enactment.

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