Syariah laws: Special committee open to discussions with all parties, says PM

BUKIT MERTAJAM: The special committee to study issues related to the competencies of the State Legislative Assembly in enacting Islamic laws is open to discussions with all quarters, including political parties.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said that the committee would study all views and suggestions before proceeding to the next stage.

"Yesterday (Feb 15), former Chief Justice Tun Zaki Tun Azmi presented an initial briefing before the Sultan of Selangor (Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah).

"In a meeting (before), I have also agreed for the special committee to convene and meet with all quarters, all states, or any (political) party, to discuss the matter openly," he said at the opening ceremony of Masjid Jamek Tengah Berapit here on Friday (Feb 16).

Anwar said that it was better for certain parties that had been criticising and accusing the government of not defending the Syariah Court to participate in the committee's discussions rather than turning the recent invalidation of certain provisions in Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment into a political controversy.

"Once we have an agreement, we’ll bring it to the Cabinet and present it to the Conference of Rulers.

"If it is consented, we enact it in Parliament, ask Malay friends (Muslim Members of Parliament) for support, amend, and improve the quality of the Syariah Courts, that should be the way," he said.

Anwar said that the responsibility of empowering the jurisdiction of Syariah Court through this special committee did not only involve states but extended to all levels.

"Give us the chance to improve. Let's not quarrel about this issue, and accuse me of being indifferent, secular, and so on," the prime minister said at the event, which was also attended by the Minister of Communications Fahmi Fadzil.

Last December, Tun Zaki was appointed as chairman of the special committee to study issues related to the competencies of the State Legislative Assembly in enacting Islamic law.

On Thursday, Anwar reportedly said that the Federal Government welcomed Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah’s decree calling for all parties to respect the decision of the Federal Court and the position of the Federal Constitution as the supreme law of the country.

He said that the decree of the Selangor ruler, as Chairman of the National Council of Islamic Religious Affairs (MKI), also came at the right time to reduce the rising political heat following the Federal Court’s decision on Feb 9 in declaring 16 provisions under the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment 2019 null and void. - Bernama

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