MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Monday, November 20, 2023

Uphold rule of law, don’t incite public: CJ

Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Man issued a reminder for everyone to uphold the rule of law and not to incite the public.

The top judge chaired the nine-person apex court bench hearing of a Kelantan family’s challenge of the constitutional validity of 18 state syariah criminal provisions. 

“We would remind everyone in this courtroom in particular to uphold the rule of law, and not to incite the sentiment of the public.

“We urge lawyers to argue the case based on the issues before us,” Tengku Maimun said.

During open-court proceedings today, Tengku Maimun said the bench is taking this “unusual step” to make the observation as much has been said by many people over the family’s petition, which was a “distorted version of what the real issue is before us”.

“As we have stated at the outset of the hearing on Aug 17, 2023, the issue is not about undermining the position of Islam or the syariah courts in the country.

“The issue arising out of the petition is simply about the competency of the Kelantan state legislature to enact the impugned provisions,” she said.

Public statement

Her observation on behalf of the bench was issued following an affidavit by the family claiming that a member of the legal team for the Terengganu Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (Maidam) had made a public statement about the case.

Tengku Maimun said that the bench wishes to remind lawyers in the matter that they are bound by the ethics of the profession and that it is not appropriate to discuss pending cases in a public forum.

She said this is more so when the lawyers failed to disclose the full facts of the case.

Tengku Maimun said that such phrases like “Syariah courts would be buried in Malaysia” are not true and that the counsel who uttered the words failed to disclose the fact that the family had conceded that two of the Kelantan Syariah criminal provisions are in fact within the state legislature’s purview.

Initially, the Kelantan family had challenged 20 state Syariah criminal provisions but has since dropped two of the provisions from the challenge.

These are state syariah criminal provisions on false claims and gambling.

Following hearing of oral submissions from parties today, the apex bench reserved judgment to a date yet to be fixed.

The other members of the apex bench today 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.

Counsel Malik Imtiaz Sarwar acted for Kelantan-born lawyer Nik Elin Abdul Rashid and her daughter Tengku Yasmin Nastasha Tengku Abdul Rahman, who are the two petitioners.

The case has attracted much consternation from certain quarters, with Perikatan Nasional leaders previously having declared public rallies would be held to protest the case.

The main respondent targeted by the legal action is the Kelantan state government. - Mkini

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