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Monday, November 20, 2023

CJ reminds all to uphold rule of law, cease incitement


The Federal Court will decide today whether 20 provisions in the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code (I) Enactment 2019 were unconstitutional.

The review was filed by lawyer Nik Elin Zurina Nik Abdul Rashid and Tengku Yasmin Nastasha Tengku Abdul Rahman, and the matter was deliberated by a panel of nine judges.

The duo are claiming that the 20 provisions involve offences that are in the exclusive realm of federal law.

Live reports from the courtroom and the vicinity of the Palace of Justice follows:

Opposition MPs skip Parliament for court challenge

10.35am: - There are many PN MPs present at the Palace of Justice today but none are sitting in the opposition bench in the Dewan Rakyat as of 10.30am.

This means that Dewan Rakyat will skip questions from all opposition MPs to ministers during question time from 10am to 11am today.

The Dewan Rakyat typically arranges for five questions each from the backbenchers and opposition MPs during this period. Therein, the MPs who submitted the question will have an opportunity to ask supplementary questions.

The five opposition MPs are Ali Biju (Saratok), Ahmad Amzad Mohamed (Kuala Terengganu), Wan Hassan Mohd Ramli (Dungun), Muhammad Ismi Mat Taib (Parit), and Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz (Tanah Merah).

Tengku Maimun: Issue has been distorted

10.34am: - Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Man reminds parties before the apex court today to uphold the rule of law and not to incite the public.

The chairperson of the nine-person bench issues the reminder following the Kelantan family - who are the petitioners behind today’s constitutional challenge against the validity of 18 Kelantan syariah criminal provisions - filing an affidavit over a public statement allegedly issued by a member of the legal team acting for the Kelantan Islamic Religious Affairs Department (Jaheik).

Jaheik is monitoring the apex proceedings via watching brief.

Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Man

Tengku Maimun says she is issuing the reminder as many quarters have made public statements that distorted the actual issue contained in the legal challenge.

“As we say from the onset of this hearing, the issue involved is not on undermining the position of Islam and syariah in this country, it is simply on the competency of the Kelantan state legislature to legislate on the impugned (18) provisions,” she says.

Nine-member apex bench convenes

10.27am: - The nine-member apex bench chaired by Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Man convenes for further hearing of the Kelantan family’s bid to nullify the state’s 18 syariah criminal provisions.

The other members of the Federal Court bench are President of the Court of Appeal Amar Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim, Chief Judge of Malaya Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Abdul Rahman Sebli, as well as Federal Court judges Nallini Pathmanathan, Mary Lim Thiam Suan, Harmindar Singh Dhaliwal, Nordin Hassan, and Abu Bakar Jais.

The panel is expected to hear oral submissions from two amicus curiae (friend of the court), namely the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP), and the Muslim Lawyers’ Association Malaysia.

‘Syariah laws should not be disturbed’

10am: - Those gathering near the Palace of Justice came from far and wide. 

A group of female college students who travelled all the way from Kota Bharu, Kelantan, say they arrived in Kuala Lumpur at 2am.

The group’s spokesperson tells Malaysiakini that she and her friends viewed the court case very seriously because it touches upon their faith.

“Syariah laws are important to Muslims and should not be disturbed because Muslims make up the majority (in this country).

“The federal government should (be helping us) because Islam is the official religion (of the country) according to the Federal Constitution,” said Sharmila, who said she was using a pseudonym.

More PN leaders arrive, crowd grows to 2k

9.40am: - The crowd has grown to around 2,000 people. More top PAS and Bersatu leaders are streaming in as well.

Notable leaders include PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, former Ketereh Umno division leader Annuar Musa, and Putrajaya MP Radzi Jidin.

Crowd swells, chants ring out

9.15am: - After prayers, the crowd continues to swell. Many are sporting headbands with the words “Himpunan Selamatkan Syariah” (Gathering to save Syariah).

A large section of the crowd is chanting “Jahanam Zionist” (To hell with the Zionists), “Hidup Syariah” (Long live Syariah), and “Hancur liberal” (Down with the liberals).

Over 1k gather outside Federal Court

8.55am: - Some 1,000 PAS supporters gathering near the vicinity of the Palace of Justice are performing the solat hajat for a favourable judgment.

PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan, vice-president Idris Ahmad, and Pasir Mas MP cum PAS information chief Ahmad Fadhli Shaari are present. - Mkini

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