Ikim to help explain apex court's Kelantan Syariah code ruling to public

PETALING JAYA: The Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (Ikim) will mobilise efforts and carry out initiatives to provide accurate explanation and fact checks to the public over the Federal Court’s ruling on the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment (I) 2019.

Its director-general Datuk Dr Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil said the explanation would align with the statement by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat following the apex court’s ruling that 16 out of 18 provisions in the enactment were null and void.

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"The Chief Justice affirmed that the issue in this case is not related to the position of Islam or Syariah law in the country but is linked to whether or not the Kelantan State Legislature made provisions within the limits set by the Federal Constitution or otherwise.

"Civil and Syariah punishments in Malaysia are in the form of takzir, where the government prescribes penalties for offences, thus there is no challenge against the Islamic law under the Syariah courts," he said in a statement on Monday (Feb 12).

Mohamed Azam said efforts to convey an accurate picture of the situation would be carried out by Ikim through round-table discussions or expert forums.

"Ikim will (also share) the right information through radio programmes and articles through news and social media.

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"Ikim calls on all parties to obtain accurate and precise facts related to the case. At the same time, Ikim is also willing to participate as a member in any committees formed to discuss the matter," he said.

Mohamed Azam said Ikim was part of the Special Committee Studying the Competence of the State Legislative Assembly in Enacting Islamic Laws that was set up in December.

He also added that Ikim also respected the Federal Court’s ruling.

On Feb 9, the apex court ruled that 16 provisions of the Kelantan Syariah state law were unconstitutional after an 8-1 majority decision.

It said the State Legislature does not have the power to enact laws on those 16 offences as there are federal laws covering them.

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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.

Among the provisions declared null and void were: destroying or defiling a place of worship (Section 11); sodomy (Section 14); sexual harassment (Section 31); possessing false documents, giving false evidence, information or statement (Section 34); gambling (Section 37); and incest (Section 47).

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