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