KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 9 — PAS today joined a growing list of detractors in questioning a landmark judgment that recognised the constitutional rights of Muslim transgenders, arguing that the court decision was putting the legitimacy of Islam in the country at risk.
The Islamist party’s influential Dewan Ulama said the appellate court ruling that rendered unconstitutional a state Shariah law criminalising cross-dressing is challenging the position of Islamic law in the country.
“Islam is the official religion of the federation and should not be construed through the glasses of colonial interpreters who believe Islam is just the practice of religious rites alone,” Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali who heads the party’s religious scholars’ wing said in a statement.
He added that with the judgment, the question now concerned the sovereignty of Islam in the country, and he insisted that Article 3 of the Federal Constitution affirms Islam as the religion of the federation.
On Friday the Court of Appeal ruled that Section 66 of the Negri Sembilan Shariah Criminal Enactment 1992, which bars Muslim men from wearing women’s clothes, to be unconstitutional. Under the state Islamic law, convicted offenders can be jailed up to six months or fined up to RM1,000, or both.
Mohd Khairuddin argued that Islam must be interpreted as a way of life with its own set of legislation to be the highest reference in the country, adding that any law in conflict with it should be voided.
He said the decision made by the Court of Appeal was not in accordance with Article 121 (1) of the Federal Constitution, which states that the civil court shall not have jurisdiction with respect to any matter within the jurisdiction of the Shariah Court.
“The implications of the results can become a reference in future court cases that threaten the legitimacy of Shariah law,” he said.
“It also raises the question of legality and the rule of Shariah law enacted at the state level with the powers provided by the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution,” he added.
Mohd Khairuddin called on Muslim legal practitioners to aid the authorities to maintain the Islamic rule of law.
“This is a kind of jihad today,” he said.
PAS urged the Negri Sembilan government and its state Islamic council to take appropriate legal process to address these issues.