KUALA LUMPUR, July 12 — The High Court here has ruled that the civil court has no jurisdiction over matters involving persons seeking to renounce Islam as they come under the Shariah court.
Judge Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid made the ruling on June 15 via email after dismissing a legal suit filed by a 32-year-old woman for leave to commence judicial review to renounce her faith from the religion of Islam to Confucianism and Buddhism.
In his written full grounds of judgment made available to the media today, Judge Ahmad Kamal said there have been many legal precedents concerning Article 121(1A) of the Federal Constitution by the courts in the last decades that the civil courts shall have no jurisdiction in respect of any matter within the jurisdiction of the Shariah Courts.
He said the crux of the present case is the application by the woman for judicial review against the Shariah Court’s decisions which had rejected her request to renounce Islam.
The judge said the Shariah Court had done nothing wrong and not acted ultra virus in deciding the woman’s application, and the orders were also not illegal and unlawful.
“To me, it does matter what the decision was, but the most important issue is that the civil courts have no jurisdiction to hear matters within the jurisdiction of the Shariah Courts, nor has it the power to review the Shariah Court’s decision in cases involving the renunciation of Islam,” he said.
The applicant, who was born to a Muslim convert father and a Muslim mother, cannot be named publicly due to a court order.
On March 4, she filed for judicial review in the civil High Court, naming the Shariah Court of Appeal, the Shariah High Court, the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) and the government of Malaysia as the four respondents.
The woman is seeking at least 12 court orders as part of her lawsuit, including declarations that the Shariah courts did not have the jurisdiction or power to declare that a person is no longer a Muslim.
She is also seeking a declaration from the civil High Court that she is no longer a Muslim and a declaration that she is entitled to profess her religion of Confucianism and Buddhism.
She is also asking the civil High Court to declare the decisions by Shariah High Court and Shariah Court of Appeal which rejected her bid to be recognised as no longer a Muslim, as illegal, unlawful and void. — Bernama