Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Section 66 not relevant in Sisters in Islam judicial review, say both parties

Both parties in the Sisters in Islam (SIS) judicial review application to challenge a Selangor fatwa (edict) labelling the society as "deviant" have agreed that the newly amended Section 66A of the Administration of the Religion of Islam (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003 has no effect on the case. The section, which came into force on May 22, 2015, empowers the Shariah High Court in Selangor to hear judicial review applications. Lawyer Majdah Muda, representing the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS), told reporters that both parties agreed Section 66A had no relevancy and not applicable in this case as the section was effective from May 22, 2015, but the judicial review was filed on October 31, 2014. "With this development, the court fixed June 24 to hear the judicial review application and five issues will be raised during the hearing, including whether the fatwa contravenes the Federal Constitution," she said after meeting High Court judge Datuk Hanipah Farikullah in chambers today. Lawyer A. Surendra, acting for SIS and its founder, Zainah Mahfoozah Anwar, and former minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, was also present during the proceedings. SIS on February 24, 2016, raised the issue whether Section 66A has any impact on its judicial review application and today, both parties agreed it did not. On December 10, 2014, SIS, Zainah and Zaid obtained leave from the High Court to commence the judicial review. SIS Forum (Malaysia) filed the judicial review to challenge MAIS's decision declaring the organisation as deviating from Islamic teachings and named the Selangor Fatwa Committee, MAIS and the Selangor government as respondents.  They are seeking a certiorari order to quash the decision of the Selangor Fatwa Committee and MAIS which stated that the organisation and any individuals as well as groups which adopted the deviant ideologies of liberalism and pluralism were deviants. The applicants are also seeking a declaration that the decision of the Selangor Fatwa Committee and MAIS in directing, through the edict, the Multimedia and Communications Commission to block social websites which went against Islamic teachings contradicted Section 3 (3) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998. They are also seeking a declaration that SIS, which was formed under the Companies Act 1965 as a company limited by guarantee, was not subject to the decisions of the Selangor Fatwa Committee and MAIS. – Bernama, March 9, 2016.]]>

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