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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Lawyers association calls for special council to resolve syariah-civil law overlap

 


A special body or council needs to be formed involving the syariah and civil courts to resolve the issue of syariah-civil law overlap in this country, says Muslim Lawyers Association of Malaysia president (PPMM), Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar.

He said the body, for example, could be called the Constitutional Court with the objective of its establishment to resolve the dual legal system practised in Malaysia.

"When there is a dual legal system, we cannot avoid some overlapping between the syariah and civil laws. When there is overlapping, we need to have another body to resolve the issue.”

Zainul Rijal (photo, above) said this in the ‘Bicara Pembela’ slot titled ‘Syariah Law in Malaysia’, which was broadcast online via the Facebook of Pertubuhan-Pertubuhan Pembela Islam (Pembela) last night.

He referred to the case of a woman born out of wedlock to a Muslim father and Buddhist mother who recently succeeded in her appeal in the Federal Court to be declared a non-Muslim as a result of the dual legal system.

He also cited the case of a man who was charged (on Aug 21, 2019) in the Selangor Syariah High Court for attempting to have sexual intercourse with another man. The accused also succeeded in his appeal in the Federal Court for a declaration that Section 28 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Selangor) Enactment 1995 is invalid.

Last Feb 28, the Federal Court ruled that Section 28 which criminalises unnatural sex is inconsistent with the Federal Constitution and is therefore void.

Zainul Rijal said before the special body could be established, the status of the syariah courts should be uplifted to be at par with the civil courts, with a hierarchy of five levels and having the same power.

“Some differences between the syariah and civil courts have made the former appear like a tribunal only to some quarters, which is not right. The syariah courts have their own jurisdiction which the civil courts cannot interfere with,” he added.

- Bernama

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