Malaysia

Maria Chin seeks order to quash shariah contempt proceedings

Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah and her legal team, led by Rosli Dahlan (left), outside the Kuala Lumpur High Court. (Rosli Dahlan pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah is seeking to challenge a show cause order by the Shariah Court for contempt over a statement that allegedly insulted the Islamic judicial system.

In a bid to initiate a judicial review, she wants the High Court here to quash the Shariah Court order on Oct 14, 2019 that allowed businessman SM Faisal SM Nasimuddin to initiate contempt proceedings against her.

She claimed the order was made in bad faith.

Maria had, on Sept 5, 2019, issued a press statement saying “Muslim women are still being discriminated (against) under Malaysia’s shariah legal system”.

She had said the Shariah Court’s decision to sentence Faisal’s former wife, Emilia Hanafi, to seven days in prison for rescheduling his visitation dates for her children was a “grave injustice” and a “total disgrace to the judicial system”.

Maria is also seeking a declaration that the Shariah Court has no power to decide on committal proceedings initiated by individuals as the application to start committal proceedings is only available to civil courts.

She also wants the High Court to declare that the Shariah Court had violated its own powers provided for under the Federal Constitution by interpreting a federal law.

She named religious affairs minister Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri, the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) and the FT Shariah Judiciary Department as the respondents.

Maria’s lawyer, Rosli Dahlan, said High Court judge Noorin Badaruddin fixed May 31 to hear her application for judicial review.

“Faisal also filed an application to intervene in our proceedings today,” he said.

Faisal was represented by Akberdin Abdul Kader and Mohd Rafie Mohd Shafie in the intervenor application, while senior federal counsel Ahmad Hanir Hambaly @ Arwi and Mazlifah Ayob appeared for the minister.

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