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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 — PAS will continue to uphold shariah law and maintain its effort to “harmonise” Islam with civil jurisprudence, de facto law minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan said in a statement last night amid growing conservative dissent against a recent Federal Court ruling that voided a Selangor religious law on unnatural sex unconstitutional.
Takiyuddin, who is PAS secretary-general, made no direct comment about the ruling itself but suggested any challenge against state religious laws would be unwarranted as it threatens “unity” and “social harmony”.
“Seeing that Malaysia is among the many countries with a Muslim-majority population, PAS will continue its effort to harmonise shariah with civil law that is built upon common law,” he said.
“PAS is convinced, based on the recognition of shariah law even by the country’s British courts in the pre-independence era, the principles of such a law will be able to create a new face and dynamic to the national legal system,” he added.
The Federal Court’s nine-judge panel unanimously declared on February 25 that a Selangor state law’s provision that made unnatural sex a shariah offence was invalid and against the Federal Constitution, as such offences fall under Parliament’s powers to make laws and not under state legislatures’ law-making powers.
The state enactment had made it a shariah offence for “any person” performing “sexual intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal”, with the punishment being a maximum fine of RM5,000 or a maximum three-year jail term or a maximum whipping of six strokes or any combination.
The court had granted a declaration sought by a 35-year-old man that enactment is invalid on grounds that it made provision with respect to a matter that the Selangor state legislature was not empowered to make laws and was therefore null and void. Pro LGBT groups had hailed it as a landmark verdict.
Takiyuddin suggested that the court could have been pressured to make such a ruling.
“PAS is worried that decisions by the judiciary made out of inappropriate pressure will yield no benefit for the country nor its people,” he said.