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Hamzah says ruling on Kelantan shariah laws undermines Malay Rulers, seeks constitutional change
Published on: Friday, February 09, 2024
By: Malay Mail
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Hamzah says ruling on Kelantan shariah laws undermines Malay Rulers, seeks constitutional change
The Perikatan Nasional secretary-general said the ruling also meant that similar enactments in other states were now at risk of being annulled. (Malay Mail pic)
Kuala Lumpur: The Federal Court decision that found parts of Kelantan’s Shariah criminal enactment unconstitutional represent an erosion of the Malay Rulers’ powers and position, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said today.

The Perikatan Nasional secretary-general said the ruling also meant that similar enactments in other states were now at risk of being annulled.

“Upon closer examination and as next step, there is a need to amend the Federal Constitution to reinforce Shariah laws, especially with regards to the right of the (Malay-Muslim) majority to profess and practise that is constitutionally guaranteed.

“We urge all relevant parties to come together regardless of politics to ensure this,” he said in a statement today.

Hamzah also sought an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Sultan of Selangor to submit a memorandum on this matter.

Earlier today, the Federal Court ruled that 16 out of 18 provisions under the Kelantan Shariah criminal enactment were unconstitutional as the state legislature did not have the authority to enact laws of such nature that were the purview of Parliament.

Nik Elin Zurina Nik Abdul Rashid, the lawyer who initiated the lawsuit that led to the ruling, called the decision an endorsement of the Federal Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, who led a nine-member panel of judges that made today’s ruling, said the lawsuit and the decision could not be blasphemous as the Kelantan Shariah criminal enactment and its provisions “being disputed are not mandated by Allah but by the state [assembly].”

However, this did not stop politicians such as Hamzah’s PN colleague, PAS secretary-general Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan, from asserting the decision to be against Shariah law itself.

The controversy has prompted the government to distance itself from the ruling, with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim saying his administration had no role in the Federal Court’s decision.

Nik Elin, a native of Kelantan, along with her daughter Tengku Yasmin Nastasha Abdul Rahman, filed a petition directly with the Federal Court under Article 4(4) of the Federal Constitution, naming the Kelantan government as the sole respondent in this case.

The duo asked the Federal Court to declare provisions of Kelantan’s Shariah Criminal Code (I) Enactment 2019 as invalid, arguing that the Kelantan state legislative assembly had overstepped or had no powers to make such laws.

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