‘Media blitz to explain decision’

Clearing the air: Ikim’s explanation will be aligned with the judgment by the Chief Justice of Malaysia following the apex court’s declaration that 16 provisions in the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code are unconstitutional.

Ikim to dispel falsehoods on apex court’s verdict on Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code

PETALING JAYA: The government’s leading research agency on Islam, Ikim, will organise roadshows and mount a social media blitz to provide accurate information and dispel falsehoods regarding the Federal Court’s decision to nullify several provisions in the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code.

Ikim’s explanation will be aligned with the judgment by the Chief Justice of Malaysia Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat following the apex court’s declaration that 16 provisions in the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Offenses Enactment (I) 2019 are unconstitutional, said the agency’s director-general Datuk Dr Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil.

He said that Ikim’s experts will hold roundtable and dialogue sessions with the public to explain the impact of the apex court’s verdict.

Ikim, or the the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia, will also put out content on social media, articles in news media and programmes on radio channels to explain the verdict, Azam said.

ALSO READ: Respect what Kelantanese want, says PKR MP

“Ikim calls on all parties to obtain accurate and precise facts related to the Nik Elin case. At the same time, Ikim is also willing to participate as member in any committees formed to discuss on the matter,” he said in a statement on Feb 12.

Ikim is also part of the Special Committee Studying the Competence of the State Legislative Assembly to Enact Islamic Laws which was formed last December.

Ikim’s statement is in response to the widespread misunderstanding of the verdict, particularly on social media, regarding the apex court’s ruling.

Cabinet ministers and those aligned to the unity government have accused the opposition coalition Perikatan Nasional of spreading falsehoods and inaccuracies about the verdict with some of the latter’s leaders claiming that it threatened the Syariah Court system.

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

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“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.”

The Federal Court ruling was after a legal petition brought by a mother and daughter – Nik Elin Zurina Nik Abdul Rashid and her daughter, Tengku Yasmin Natasha Tengku Abdul Rahman – who challenged 18 provisions under the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment 2019.

“The facts in this case are related to the power of the Kelantan State Legislature to enact or make several provisions in the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code.

“In the 20 provisions initially challenged, which later became 18, only 16 provisions were declared null and void, namely sections 11, 14, 16, 17, 31, 34, 36, 37(1)(b), 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 47, and 48 of the relevant enactment,” he said.

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).

The federal court had declared these provisions as unconstitutional as the Kelantan legislature had no power to pass laws on these offences which are already in the Penal Code.

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Federal Court , Syariah law , Nik Elin


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