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‘Govt to resolve discrepancies between Federal Constitution and Shariah laws in states by end 2024’
Published on: Sunday, February 18, 2024
By: R Loheswar, Malay Mail
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‘Govt to resolve discrepancies between Federal Constitution and Shariah laws in states by end 2024’
KUALA LUMPUR: Islamic Affairs Minister Datuk Mohd Na’im Mokhtar today promised that the federal government will iron out the wrinkles concerning Shariah criminal laws in the next eight months, following the Federal Court decision last week.

He said Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah of Selangor — who chairs the National Council of Islamic Religious Affairs (MKI) — wants recommendations concerning the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment and possible methods of expanding the competencies of the State Legislative Assembly to enact Syariah criminal laws within the framework set by the Federal Constitution by the end of this year.

Na’im said the sultan told the Special Committee Studying Issues Related to the Competence of the State Legislative Assemblies to Enact Islamic Laws and its chairman, former chief justice, Tun Zaki Azmi to do so within this year.

“The Selangor Sultan mandated the committee and Tun Zaki to finalise everything within a year but I’ve got a commitment to complete the undertaking in not more than eight months,” he told reporters at the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) carnival in Taman Tasik Titiwangsa.

Na’im said any suggestion, be it from Opposition parties or NGOs, can be sent to Zaki.

He said the federal government will also engage with as many people as possible to ensure the issue is dealt with holistically.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who also attended the Karnival MAIWP this morning, claimed the federal Opposition was purposely using the Federal Court’s decision in annulling 16 provisions in the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code to cause disunity among Malaysians.

He accused Perikatan Nasional (PN) politicians of acting with bias to further their political careers.

According to Anwar, a similar case happened in 2021 when the Federal Court rejected the Selangor State Legislative Assembly’s proposals, but claimed not one member of the Opposition back then objected to it.

He did not elaborate on the Selangor Assembly’s proposals.

Anwar accused PN of playing up religious sentiments in a bid to portray his unity government as opposing Islam even as he pointed out that the Kelantan Shariah case that was decided recently by the Federal Court had been filed back when it was the government.

“Why no noise then? Because you were in the government right? Why no condemnation, outcry, outpouring of disdain at the time? Not even a committee to study the case.

“I wasn’t prime minister in 2021 or 2020, only when I took over and this Kelantan case happened I’m vilified and condemned. My question is there have been cases such as this since 2021. Why didn’t you do anything then?” he asked rhetorically during the opening ceremony to the MAIWP carnival.

“Now I’m the prime minister and if we allow all the states to form their own laws we’d have 13 different laws. That’s why it must be streamlined.

“Laws are not made according to politicians’ sentiments or speeches. It’s the judges, courts and the relevant agencies that decide that,” he added.

Anwar said it’s clear to see that the only thing the Opposition is interested in is disunity among Malaysians.

Sultan Sharafuddin issued a decree telling Malaysians to respect the Federal Court’s ruling on the Kelantan Syariah Enactment challenge filed by Nik Elin Zurina Nik Abdul Rashid, and called for the Federal Constitution to be upheld as the supreme law of the country.

Sultan Sharafuddin, who chaired the 71st MKI meeting, also stressed on the importance to look for a solution to overcome any matters arising by studying methods to expand the state legislative assemblies’ competency to enact Shariah criminal law in the framework set out by the Federal Constitution.

His decree was related to the Federal Court’s February 9 decision declaring 16 provisions under the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment 2019 null and void. - Malay Mail

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