Federal Court should have referred to Malaysia Agreement on apostasy case, say Sarawak churches

Source: The Malaysian Insight

THE Federal Court should have referred to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and the constitution before pushing the conversion cases to the shariah court, the Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) said.

ACS chairman Reverend Justin Wan said the Federal Court should not have interfered because the state is independent as far as MA63 is concern.

“Islam is the official religion of Malaysia but Sabah and Sarawak are free to exercise our religious beliefs. It is one of the points of the 18-point agreement.  

“So as far as Sarawak is concerned this issue should not be decided by the Federal Court.

“All this while the civil court had said they (shariah court) have no jurisdiction on apostasy cases, and now the Federal Court says they have.

“We leave today’s decision to the court, but we still feel that it is not a wise decision. It’s not right in the context of Sarawak,” he told The Malaysian Insight. Read more

Federal Court defers to Shariah courts in Sarawak apostasy cases

Source: The Malay Mail Online

The Palace of Justice in Putrajaya – File pix

KUCHING, Feb 27 — The Federal Court ruled today that the Sarawak Shariah Court has jurisdiction over the bid by four Sarawakians — a Malay-Muslim and three Muslim converts — to embrace Christianity.

Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin said the decision was unanimous.

“We have studied written submissions and arguments by from both parties and we found  that there is no merit in the appeals,” he said.

He added that while there is no specific provision in the Sarawak Shariah Court Ordinance 2001 concerning conversions into and out of Islam, there were provisions under the Sarawak Islamic Religious Council (MAIS) concerning such matters.

He said these existed under Sections 68, 69 and 70 of the MAIS Ordinance.

On the applicants’ legal question asking if the Shariah courts have jurisdiction over apostasy applications when there are no specific provisions in the Sarawak Shariah Court Ordnance 2001, Zulkefli said the answer was yes.

Today’s decision means the four applicants — Syarifah Nooraffyzza Wan Hosen and Muslim converts Jenny binti Peter alias Nur Muzdhalifah Abdullah, Mohd Syafiq Abdullah alias Tiong Choo Ting and Salina Jau binti Abdullah — must have their cases heard by the Shariah courts. Read more

Top court to hear who has power to decide four Sarawakians’ conversion out of Islam

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Four Sarawakians are seeking to have the civil courts declare that they are Christians and have the government’s recognition that they are no longer Muslims. — File picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26 — The Federal Court is scheduled to hear today the joint appeal of four Sarawakians who want to know if it is the civil or the state Shariah courts which can decide on their bid to convert out of Islam.

The hearing is part of the many years of waiting by the four who just want their identity card and official records to reflect the fact that they are now practising Christians. Read more

Top court agrees to hear bid by three Muslim converts seeking return to Christianity

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Lawyer Baru Bian says there should not be any obstacles imposed on people who want to come out of Islam, February 9, 2017. ― Picture by Sulok Tawie

Lawyer Baru Bian says there should not be any obstacles imposed on people who want to come out of Islam, February 9, 2017. ― Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, February  9 ― The Federal Court agreed today to a full hearing for three Sarawakian Muslim converts who face state-level challenges in their wish to revert to their original religion.

Jenry Peter alias Nur Mudzdhalifah Abdullah, Mohd Syafiq Abdullah alias Tiong Choo Ting and Selina Jau Abdullah had asked if the Sarawak Shariah Court has jurisdiction over apostasy matters or conversion out Islam when the Sarawak Syariah Court Ordinance 2001 has no provision concerning conversion into Islam.

Federal Court judge Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar, who chaired a three-men panel, said the question of law posed by the three applicants required an answer as there have been similar cases nationwide.

“The Sarawak Syariah Court Ordinance is a serious matter and if the legislation does nothing, what about the ordinary people?” the judge said.

Sitting with Suriyadi were Federal Court judges Tan Sri  Belia Yusof Wahi and Tan Sri Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha.

The three applicants, represented by lawyer Baru Bian, are suing the Sarawak Islamic Religious Department, the Islamic Affairs Council, the National Registration Department (NRD) and the state government to be allowed to revert to Christianity. Read more