Court refuses to strike out suit against Pandikar over Hadi bill


Source: Free Malaysia Today

Former MP Tawfik Ismail (left) and lawyer Rosli Dahlan outside the High Court after the court’s ruling that it has jurisdiction to hear suit by Tawfik against Dewan Rakyat Speaker. Pic from FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has refused to strike out a suit by former MP Tawfik Ismail against Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia seeking to stop the tabling of a bill from PAS to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act.

Justice Kamaludin Md Said ruled that Tawfik’s lawsuit is not a plain and obvious case to be struck out.

“In my opinion, the court has jurisdiction to hear this case,” he said, before setting the next case management for March 6.

Kamaludin also instructed Pandikar to file his affidavits.

“I want affidavits to be filed in quick. I cannot keep Parliament waiting,” he said.

Speaking to reporters later, Tawfik’s lawyer Rosli Dahlan said the court had made the right decision as shariah laws come under the jurisdiction of the Malay rulers.

“We say that there are constitutional issues on the tabling of the Bill as the Conference of Rulers needs to give its consent under Article 38 of the Federal Constitution,” he said.

Tawfik is the former Barisan Nasional MP for Sungai Benut in Johor, and son of the late Ismail Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s deputy prime minister from 1970 to 1973.

He is seeking a court order to stop the tabling of the bill which seeks to give wider powers to shariah courts, including stiffer sentences on Muslim offenders.

He filed his application in court in March last year, naming Pandikar and Dewan Rakyat secretary Roosme Hamzah as defendants.

He claimed the private member’s bill proposed by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang did not conform with the requirements of the Standing Orders of the Dewan Rakyat.

Hadi tabled a motion on April 6 last year to introduce his bill but it was not debated.

The bill aims to increase the penalties for shariah offences to 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 strokes of the cane.

Last August, Pandikar and Roosme asked the court to strike out the suit as it encroached on parliamentary privileges under Articles 62 and 63 of the Federal Constitution.

Article 62 (1) states that subject to the provisions of the constitution and federal law, each House of Parliament (Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara) shall regulate its own procedures.

Article 63 states that the validity of any proceedings in either House of Parliament, or any committee, shall not be questioned in any court.