PGSM urges gov’t to set up special committee to study amendments to Federal Constitution

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 — The Malaysian Syariah Lawyers Association (PGSM) has urged the Federal Government to set up a Special Committee to study amendments to the Federal Constitution to empower the State Syariah Court to conduct judicial review of decisions made by the State Islamic Religious Council.

Its president Musa Awang in a statement today said the amendment was also necessary to empower the state Syariah Court to conduct a judicial review on any decision by committees performing functions under state Syariah law including the state fatwa committees.

“PGSM is of the view that any judicial review of the decision should be made by the Syariah Court, as it is an appropriate and competent forum as it involves Muslim parties and is centered on Syariah law.

“Therefore, PGSM urges the government to take a long-term approach to amend Item 1, List II (State List), Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution for the purpose,” he said in the statement.

He said this following the Federal Court’s decision today declaring that the Selangor State Legislative Assembly did not have the power to make an enactment which confers the state Syariah Court to hear the judicial review of decisions by state religious authorities.

A nine-member panel led by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat in a unanimous decision said the court found Section 66A of the Administration of the Religion of Islam (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003 was unconstitutional and void as it was a provision that the Selangor State Assembly had no authority to make.

Section 66A states that the Syariah High Court, may, in the interests of justice, on the application of any person, use its jurisdiction to hear and allow applications for judicial review of decisions made by the State Islamic Religious Council or committees in carrying out their duties under this Enactment.

The Federal Court ruled so after allowing the application by SIS Forum (Malaysia) as a petitioner to challenge the provisions of the enactment.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency