State Syariah criminal laws remain in force until declared invalid, Parliament told

KUALA LUMPUR: Syariah criminal law provisions in all states – except the 16 provisions in the Kelantan Shariah Criminal Code (1) Enactment 2019 declared null and void by the Federal Court – remain valid and constitutional and can be enforced.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Dr Zulkifli Hasan said the laws are valid as long as they are not declared invalid and unconstitutional.

He said the ruling by the Federal Court only involved 16 of 18 provisions in the Kelantan Syariah Penal Code (1) Enactment 2019, but not Syariah laws in other states.

"However, can the federal government order the states to amend their Syariah laws?...based on Clause 2 of Article 74, and Item I of List II of the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution, Islamic religious affairs are under the jurisdiction of the states.

"So, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Sultans are the main authorities that need to be protected and they need to give their consent on the advice of the State Islamic Religious Council," he said

He said this during the question and answer session at the Dewan Rakyat in response to a supplementary question from Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan (PN-Kota Bharu).

In the original question to the Prime Minister, Takiyuddin had asked about efforts taken by the government to protect the validity of State Syariah Enactment Law.

According to Zulkifl, the government had formed a special committee to study issues related to the competency of State Legislative Assemblies to enact Islamic laws, which had submitted its first report.

The first report was sent to the National Council of Islamic Religious Affairs on Feb 15 and a comprehensive solution to the issue is expected to be obtained within a year, he said.

The government, he said, is always committed to upholding Syariah law in Malaysia in line with the Religious Affairs Transformation Plan Towards Malaysia Madani 2023-2027. – Bernama

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