Decisions made by the court must be respected, say legal professionals

PETALING JAYA: All decisions handed out by the court must be respected, with political parties also needing to understand the Federal Constitution, say legal professionals in light of a recent statement by PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang.

Former deputy law minister Mohamed Hanipa Maidin said decisions handed out by the court must be respected, regardless if one disagreed or found them hard to accept.

Explaining, Mohamed Hanipa said the Federal Constitution was the apex law in the country, with Article 3 of the Constitution also stated that Islam is the Federation’s official religion.

"In a legal context, the constitution determined that if there were any irregularities pertaining to constitutional issues, the matter would be referred to the Federal Court.

"Hence, if any cases are brought to the apex court, all parties must adhere to the decision," the former Sepang MP said when contacted.

This was in response to a statement by Abdul Hadi on Feb 14, claiming that Islamic countries were losing their integrity in maintaining colonial laws, despite the country achieving independence.

Abdul Hadi also described some judges, whom he did not name, as being trapped in a colonial mindset, adding that "the sin of going against Islam was bigger than that of going against the courts."

To this, Mohamed Hanipa said such phrases should not have been mentioned.

He added that all parties, including Islamic ones, agreeing to partake in political contestation through parliamentary democracy in Malaysia should understand the system, despite it possibly having some weaknesses and shortcomings.

"With due respect, his (Abdul Hadi) statements reflect a shallow understanding of the roles played by judges in civil court," he said.

In a recent tweet on X (formerly known as Twitter), senior lawyer Zaid Ibrahim said the PAS president should realise judges merely interpret the laws of the land, namely the Constitution.

Zaid added that PAS lost a "golden opportunity" to win the support of the majority of the people when Abdul Hadi described the judges as "having the legacy of the colonisers."

"He (Abdul Hadi) should have said he understood the judges and urged Muslims to be patient.

"If we are ever going to have a political party that inspires hope for a positive change in the country, its leaders must stop whining and complaining.

"This visionary and hopeful leader is what the people are waiting for," he tweeted.

While Abdul Hadi did not provide much context in his then statement, it is believed to be referring to the Federal Court ruling that 16 provisions of the Kelantan Syariah state law are unconstitutional.

In an 8-1 majority decision, the apex court allowed the application by a mother-and-daughter duo who challenged the 18 provisions under the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment 2019.

Nik Elin Zurina Nik Abdul Rashid and her daughter, Tengku Yasmin Natasha Tengku Abdul Rahman, mounted the challenge on the grounds that the provisions were invalid as the Kelantan State Legal Authority did not have the power to enact the laws.

Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, who chaired the full coram of nine judges, said the issue at hand was whether the Kelantan State Legal Authority had enacted the impugned law provisions within the ambit of the Federal Constitution.

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