Penang Islamic department has no jurisdiction over non-Muslims, DAP rep says

Wong reminded the department and its officers that the Shariah Court only has jurisdiction over Muslims. — Picture by K.E. Ooi
Wong reminded the department and its officers that the Shariah Court only has jurisdiction over Muslims. — Picture by K.E. Ooi

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GEORGE TOWN, May 14 ― A Penang DAP assemblyman said today the state’s Islamic religious affairs department (Jaipp) has no jurisdiction over non-Muslims and that it should avoid getting involved in cases involving non-Muslims.

Wong Hon Wai (DAP ― Air Itam) reminded the department and its officers that the Shariah Court only has jurisdiction over Muslims.

"The Shariah Court do not have any jurisdiction over Buddhist, Christians, Taoists, Sikh, Hindu and those of other faiths," he said today while debating the Penang Governor's speech.

He drew attention to two high profile cases in the Shariah Court involving non-Muslims last year.

"First, the case of Teoh Cheng Cheng whose funeral was postponed due to weaknesses in Jaipp," he said.

The late Teoh's body was taken away by Jaipp officers on her funeral as she was mistaken as a Muslim but her body was later released back to her Buddhist family after they proved in Shariah Court that she had never converted to Islam.

Wong said the matter was resolved after intervention from the state government and several elected representatives.

In another case, Wong said an Indonesian Christian, Halimah, was jailed 14 days and fined RM3,000 for khalwat (close proximity) by the Shariah Court.

Halimah's case dragged on for three years before the Shariah Court finally discharged and acquitted her last year.

Wong also called on the state to look into these high profile cases to avoid a repeat.

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