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Syariah Supreme Court for Sabah
Published on: Thursday, July 11, 2024
By: Hayati Dzulkifli
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Syariah Supreme Court for Sabah
Dr Mohd Arifin said the Bill involves 10 Parts and 50 Clauses in which as usual Part 1 contains the preliminary matter consisting of three Clauses. - Pic for illustration only.
Kota Kinabalu: SABAH will be among the first to have a Syariah Supreme Court following the passing of a new 2024 Syariah Court Enactment Bill in the State Assembly that will see the courts operating at four levels.

Three amendments were also approved to existing bills, namely the Sabah Islamic Religious Council (Muis) Bill (Amendment) Enactment 2024, the Syariah Court Evidence Bill (Amendment) Enactment 2024 and the Syariah Court Mal (Civil) Procedure Bill (Amendment) Enactment 2024.

State Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Datuk Dr Mohd Arifin bin Mohd Arif, who is also the State Exco of Islamic Affairs, tabled the bills. 

The first, Syariah Courts Enactment 2024, provides for the establishment and jurisdiction of the Syariah Supreme Court as the fourth level of the highest Court in the Syariah Judicial hierarchy.

“The effect of this new law involves a change in jurisdiction for each Court, a change in the appeal and review process from each Court, the appointment of Judges, the appointment of Registrars and the appointment of Sulh (Mediation) Officers for each Court.

“Currently, there are only three levels of Court in the jurisdictional structure of the Syariah Court, namely the Syariah Lower Court, the Syariah High Court and the Syariah Court of Appeal,” he said.

Dr Mohd Arifin said the Bill involves 10 Parts and 50 Clauses in which as usual Part 1 contains the preliminary matter consisting of three Clauses.

Clause 3 contains provisions on the prerogative powers of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as the Head of the religion of Islam in Sabah as declared and set forth in the Constitution of the State of Sabah.

Part 2 of the bill contains only one Clause on the establishment of Syariah Courts which is Clause 4 that provides as follows:

“The Speaker of the State may, on the recommendation of the Chief Justice Syar’ie, through notification in the Gazette establish —

(a) The Syariah Subordinate (Lower) Court for Sabah in any place he considers fit;

(b) Syariah High Court for Sabah;

(c) Syariah Court of Appeal for Sabah; and

(d) Syariah Supreme Court for Sabah

He said Part 3 of the Bill contains 11 Clauses (Clause 5 – 15) on matters of appointment and revocation involving appointment of Chief Syar’ie Judge and judges for the four Syariah Courts, Chief Registrar, and Syariah Sulh Officerand, the criteria of their qualifications, and lastly revocation of appointment of the judges.

Part 4 contains only One Clause regarding jurisdiction of the Syariah Subordinate (Lower) Court that can hear criminal offences in which the penalty is not more than RM3,000 or up to two years jail or both, and can impose any sentence which provided under the offence, and Mal jurisdiction, it can hear and decide on cases in which the amount or value of the disputed matter does not exceed RM300,000 or which cannot be estimated in money.

Part 5, he said, contains four clauses (Clause 17 – 20) in regards to the jurisdiction of the Syariah High Court that can hear criminal offences and under Mal jurisdiction such as engagement, marriage, dowry, divorce, ruju’ (reconciliation of a marriage), dissolution of marriage (fasakh), nusyuz, judicial separation (faraq) or any other matter related to the relationship between husband and wife, disposition or claim of property, legitimacy or guardianship (hadhanah) of children, maintenance of dependents, lineage, division or claim of marital property and inheritance, among others.

“The Clause 18 involves provisions on the jurisdiction of the Syariah High Court appeal, the Clause 19 involves provisions on the need to obtain permission to appeal to the Syariah High Court and Clause 20 involves provisions on the jurisdiction of the High Court of Syariah supervision and review,” he said.

Part 9 contains 14 clauses (Clause 35 – 48) on general matters such as to have seal of Syariah Court, exercise of power by judges, judges code of ethics, protection of judges and other judicial officers, directions of Chief Syarie Judge, Rules Committee of the Syariah Courts, Open Court, Court proceedings thorough remote communication technology, language, reciprocal action, scheme of services and remuneration, and Hukum Syarak, among others.

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