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Federal Court defers to Shariah courts in Sarawak apostasy cases

February 27, 2018 2:58 AM
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Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin said the decision was unanimous. — Reuters picKUCHING, 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 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 Syariah 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 on specific provisions in the Sarawak Shariah Court Ordinance 2001, Zulkefli said the answer was yes.

Source: themalaymailonline.com

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