Two Bills and several recent developments are giving legal experts plenty to talk about.
IT has been an extraordinary fortnight for constitutional lawyers. A multitude of issues has surged up against the Constitution. There are two important Bills in Parliament and a number of developments that impact constitutionalism in the country. Read more →
NOVEMBER 24 ― The Deputy Prime Minister recently announced that the private members bill by Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (the “Act”) would be tabled with amendments, and that a Parliamentary Select Committee would be established to study the said bill.
PAS lawmaker Datuk Khairuddin Aman Razali was reported as having said that the amended bill would allow the Shariah Courts to impose 30 years prison, fines up to RM100,000 and no more than 100 strokes of the cane.
The Deputy Prime Minister assured the public that the bill is not about Hudud. To be clear, he was reported as having said:
“This Bill is not about Hudud. We want to empower Shariah courts. Is it wrong for us to empower Shariah courts?”
This is a big misconception. The said bill will pave way for the enforcement of hudud. Let us be clear on how the Islamic criminal justice system is implemented in Malaysia. All form of Islamic law, including the establishment of Shariah courts, stems from Item 1 of the State List in the Federal Constitution. The relevant part of the item reads:
“the constitution, organization and procedure of Syariah courts, which shall have jurisdiction only over persons professing the religion of Islam and in respect only of any of the matters included in this paragraph, but shall not have jurisdiction in respect of offences except in so far as conferred by federal law”
In essence, it is up to Parliament to determine what offences the Shariah Court has jurisdiction over. Read more →
PUTRAJAYA, 24 Nov — Kerajaan menjamin akan memperhalusi secara rapi cadangan pindaan Rang Undang-Undang persendirian bagi meminda Akta Mahkamah Syariah (Bidang Kuasa Jenayah) 1965 atau RUU 355, dengan mengambil kira pandangan semua pihak yang berkepentingan.
Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom berkata ini termasuk rakyat bukan Islam walaupun RUU 355 tidak melibatkan mereka sebagaimana yang termaktub dalam Perlembangaan Persekutuan.
“Kerajaan juga mengalu-alukan sebarang cadangan untuk memperkasa dan menambah baik institusi mahkamah Syariah termasuk usul persendirian yang dibentangkan anggota Parlimen Marang (Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang),” katanya dalam satu kenyataan di sini hari ini. Read more →
The Election Commission (EC) is seeking to change the names of 12 parliamentary seats and 34 state constituencies nationwide. — Pix by Kamles Kumar
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 — The High Court here today dismissed the leave application for a judicial review filed by activist Maria Chin Abdullah to challenge the Election Commission’s (EC) proposed redelineation of parliamentary constituency Petaling Jaya Utara.
Justice Azizul Azmi Adnan made the decision after ruling that Maria’s application did not have an arguable case.
“An examination of the applicant’s statement will reveal that the basis of the applicant’s putative challenge lies wholly and entirely on fact that the Election Commission has not included the details of the land mass of the proposed constituencies in the notice,” he said.
Citing a case involving the EC against See Chee How & Another, he said the Court of Appeal in its decision held that Section 4(a) of the Thirteenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution, did not require the EC to include in the notice, particulars of the land mass of the proposed constituencies.
The judge said the Court of Appeal further held that the inclusion of the number of electors for each constituency, as set out in the schedules to the notice in that case, provided sufficient information for a voter to raise questions on the weightage that was given by the EC.
Azizul Azmi said in light of the Court of Appeal ruling, he failed to see how the applicant (Maria) could have established an arguable case.
He, however, accepted that Maria’s application was not frivolous, taking into account the fact that the applicant was also a registered voter in the relevant state and Federal constituencies and she had sufficient locus standi to make the application. Read more →
NOVEMBER 24 — We, the undersigned civil society organizations, strongly condemn the detention of the chairperson of Bersih 2.0, Maria Chin Abdullah, on November 18, 2016 for 28 days under the new Internal Security Act (ISA) – the draconian Security Offence (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).
We reiterate that the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression of the people are guaranteed by the Federal Constitution. The Bersih 5 rally had been very peaceful and conducted without any untoward incidents despite repeated violence and provocation from the red shirts before the rally. The act of the police in arresting leaders of civil society movements and opposition parties before they could exercise their constitutional rights is not only mala-fide, but also a blatant abuse of powers in violation of the Federal Constitution.
We are further outraged with the use of the draconian Sosma against Maria Chin Adullah. When Sosma was legislated in 2012 to replace the infamous ISA which was abolished after widespread opposition from the people, the government assured the public that the new legislation that gave extensive powers to the police would only be used against terrorists and that “no person shall be arrested and detained for his or her political beliefs and activities.” Those members of parliament that ignored the criticism of the civil society and passed the law should now be held accountable.
Clearly, Maria Chin Abdullah is no terrorist. The use of Sosma against Maria Chin Abdullah to stop her from leading the Bersih 5 rally, and previously against Khairuddin Abu Hassan and Matthias Chang to stop them from lodging complaints of corruption in 1MDB overseas, have proven that when such a powerful legislation is given to the government, it will not hesitate to use it to cover-up the abuse of powers and corruption in the government. Read more →