Special Correspondent: The so-called progressive circles have become very agitated by the judgment of the Supreme Court of Malaysia. Malaysia’s Supreme Court is said to have struck down more than a dozen laws based on Islam in a ruling. But what seems like a title is not really. There are actually several provinces in Malaysia. One of these was the Supreme Court declaring some laws passed in the state of Kelantan as unconstitutional. Foreign news agencies commented that the Federal Court ruling in Malaysia could have implications for Sharia law in other provinces.
Laws are made in Malaysia in two ways. There are Islamic criminal and family laws. These Sharia laws are enacted by the provinces. And secular laws are made by the Federal Court of Malaysia. Malaysia’s Chief Justice Tanken Maimun Tuan Mat has declared Kelantan province’s 16 sharia penal laws invalid by a majority of 8 to 1. Most of these laws were against homosexuality between men, illicit domestic fornication, gambling, sexual harassment and vandalism or desecration of places of worship.
The Chief Justice said that the representatives of the people of Kelantan province acted beyond their authority. They have no right to make the laws they made. They are authorized in the central parliament. So only the central parliament can make these laws. The Kelantan Provincial Legislature erred in passing these laws. This means that the Federal Court did not debate whether Sharia is right or wrong. They only said that the provincial legislatures had no right to enact this law. Kelantan province is governed by the Islamic party PAS. Pass received a majority in the Kelantan state assembly. And they advocate strict Sharia law. The federal court’s decision sparked outrage among Muslim groups. They protested outside the Federal Court in Putrajaya. They were mostly women. They voiced their demands and shouted Allahu akbar.
In this regard, Chief Justice Maimun said: “We have not commented on Islamic law in Malaysia.” We have only said that this law cannot be passed by the provincial legislatures. After the verdict was announced, Malaysian Religious Affairs Minister Muhammad Naim Moktar said the Malaysian government’s Islamic experts were taking urgent steps to strengthen Sharia courts. He also said that the Islamic justice system is protected in Malaysia’s federal constitution. If the provincial legislatures do not have the right to enact such Islamic laws, the central Malaysian parliament will enact the necessary Sharia laws.