Hudud Bill: Court dismisses initial objection

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia's High Court yesterday dismissed a preliminary objection by Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) president Abdul Hadi Awang against four individuals who are seeking to block Parliament from debating a Bill to pave the way for enforcement of the hudud law in Kelantan.

Justice Asmabi Mohamad held that there was insufficient material before her in the present case. She set Oct 13 to hear an application by Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi to strike out the lawsuit, The Star newspaper said.

The four plaintiffs are seeking a declaration that Mr Abdul Hadi's attempt to introduce the Islamic criminal law or hudud in Kelantan, by bringing the debate into the federal Parliament and amending a federal law, is against the Constitution.

The Kelantan government, which is led by PAS, in March passed amendments to the state's Islamic criminal code to pave the way to implement the law there. The hudud law, among others, has provisions for death by stoning for adultery and amputation of limbs for theft.

But the Kelantan law cannot be implemented unless federal lawmakers amend a federal law, the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965.

The four individuals are lawyer Mansoor Saat, activist Azira Aziz and researchers Hasbeemaputra Abu Bakar and Hazwany Jamaluddin, the Malaysian Insider news site said. They want federal lawmakers to be ordered to retract or to be prevented from continuing discussions on the proposed amendments at any parliamentary session.

Lawyer Siti Kassim, representing the applicants, said in July that the application was based on the "unconstitutionality" of the Bill.

She said Mr Abdul Hadi, who introduced a private member's Bill in Parliament to raise the issue, was making a "back door" attempt to change the federal Constitution.

"This is technically amending our Constitution. It is just not about Kelantan. If the Bill is passed, it will allow Muslims in Malaysia to be punished according to their interpretation of the Syariah law," she had said, as quoted by the Malaysian Insider.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2015, with the headline 'Hudud Bill: Court dismisses initial objection'. Print Edition | Subscribe