PUTRAJAYA, Aug 13 — The Negri Sembilan government told the Federal Court today that the group of transgenders challenging the Shariah law that forbids cross-dressing among Muslims had used improper channels to file their bid.
In its bid to overturn an appellate court’s landmark ruling on the matter, the state government, represented by prominent lawyer Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah, also said the challenge had been premature as the group had only been charged with the offence in the Shariah Court and no decision had been delivered yet.
The lawyer argued that the Court of Appeal, and the Seremban High Court before it, had erred when it entertained the transgenders’ application for judicial review as the Federal Constitution does not state they have the jurisdiction to do so.
The Court of Appeal had in November 7 last year ruled that Section 66 of the Negri Sembilan Shariah Criminal Enactment 1992 prohibiting cross-dressing by Muslims was unconstitutional and void.
The Negri Sembilan government is appealing that decision today along with five other applicants: the state’s Islamic Religious Affairs Department (JHEAINS), JHEAINS’ director, its chief enforcer, and the state’s chief Shariah prosecutor, and the Negri Sembilan Islamic Affairs Council.
The five-man panel led by Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif said today it will decide on these two arguments raised by Shafee first before hearing submissions on the constitutionality of Section 66.
The decision for today’s arguments will be delivered at a later date.
The case is among two hearings today where state Islamic authorities are arguing that fundamental constitutional rights guaranteed to all Malaysians cannot be applied to determine the validity of Islamic laws.
MORE TO COME
- Two lawsuits today spotlight supremacy of constitutional guarantees vs Islamic law [13 Aug 2015]
- Federal Court green lights Negri Sembilan’s appeal over cross-dressing ruling [28 Jan 2015]