KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 30 — Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari today thanked the Selangor ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah on behalf of the state's residents for his wisdom in his latest decree on non-interference by non-Muslims in Islamic affairs.

Amirudin noted that the Selangor sultan's decree was in response to DAP's Beruas MP Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham's call for non-Muslims to be included as members of a special committee to study state legislative assemblies' competence to enact Islamic laws.

Amirudin, who is also PKR vice-president, indicated that Ngeh as an experienced lawyer should not have raised such views or comments as a topic of discussion in the first place and said there was also no need to consider such views.

Amirudin said the management of the religion Islam is the specific prerogative of each state via the Malay rulers and that this should be understood without any allegations that may result in misinterpretation to the point of causing unnecessary anxiety.


"The Beruas MP, as an experienced politician who was formerly the Perak state legislative assembly speaker, should review his capacity to speak, especially relating to issues involving affairs of the religion of Islam, furthermore when there were polemic on the same scope sparked by him a few times previously," Amirudin, who is also Selangor PKR chief, said in a statement today.

"Furthermore this burdens his party which at this time is at the best position to champion the Malaysia Madani agenda together through the Unity Government which places the religion of Islam at the highest position as proof of Pakatan Harapan's commitment through a strategic combination with Barisan Nasional to be a better shield to defend the religion of Islam when compared against any previous entities," he added.

He also said all politicians should welcome Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's capability to firmly explain matters regarding the religion of Islam and Malay affairs.


Amirudin concluded by saying that the Selangor Sultan's decree came at the right time and should be seen as resolving any politicians who fail to comprehensively understand the political reality in Malaysia.

Just about an hour after Amirudin's statement, Ngeh issued a press statement to the media where he apologised for his previous proposal on having non-Muslim constitutional experts in the special committee.

Ngeh retracted his proposal and said he has no intention at all to interfere in Islamic affairs.

Previously on December 5, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Mohd Na'im Mokhtar announced the appointment of 11 members to the special committee, including former chief justice Tun Zaki Tun Azmi as its chairman.

Mohd Na'im had said the special committee would study state legislative assemblies' competence to enact Islamic laws and the Shariah court's jurisdiction under the Federal Constitution.

Mohd Na'im had also said the special committee is part of the federal government's efforts to resolve conflict between the federal government's jurisdiction and the state governments' jurisdiction to enhance Shariah laws and the Shariah judicial system in Malaysia.

National news agency Bernama had also on December 5 reported Mohd Na'im as saying that the special committee would look at and refine all matters involving overlaps between the Shariah courts and civil courts such as religious conversion, property, inheritance claims and wills, and that it would also examine the courts' decision in two cases.

The two court cases which Mohd Na'im was referring to involve constitutional challenges against the Selangor state legislative assembly and the Kelantan state legislative assembly to make state laws on certain Shariah offences, due to the federal and state jurisdictions listed under the Federal Constitution.

Both court challenges revolve around questions of whether it is the Parliament that has the power instead under the Federal Constitution to make those laws, and whether the state legislative assemblies went beyond their law-making powers under the Federal Constitution when enacting those provisions on some of the Shariah offences.

The first court case saw the Federal Court's nine-judge panel on February 25, 2021 declaring a Selangor state law's provision which made unnatural sex a Shariah offence as unconstitutional as it comes under Parliament's law-making powers instead of state legislatures' law-making powers.

As for the second court case, two Muslim women are challenging the constitutionality of a Kelantan state law's provisions on some Shariah offences which they argue are under federal law-making jurisdiction and are already covered in laws made by Parliament.

The Federal Court has yet to decide on the second court case, but had during a hearing stressed that the issue in the case is not about undermining the position of Islam or the Shariah court, and is rather about the competency of the state legislative assembly to make laws.

On December 28, Ngeh was reported proposing for non-Muslim constitutional experts to also be appointed to the special committee to enable non-Muslim views on the Federal Constitution's provisions to be taken into account before proposals for changes to the country's law are made.

Among other things, Ngeh also suggested a representative from the Malaysian Bar to be appointed as a committee member.

On December 29, DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke said Ngeh's proposal was based on an erroneous understanding regarding the special committee's formation, clarifying that its formation is not determined by Cabinet but by the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs (MKI).

Loke said that the special committee reports directly to the MKI and would be advising the MKI — which is chaired by the Selangor Sultan — on proposals to enhance the Shariah courts' jurisdiction.

Loke clarified that DAP was not trying to interfere in Islamic affairs and said that DAP respects the Selangor Sultan's wisdom in making any decisions on MKI affairs.

Loke also said non-Muslims do not have to be concerned as any legal amendments involving the rights of non-Muslims would have to go through and be decided by Cabinet before going through the usual process in Parliament.

On December 29, Mohd Na'im in a subsequent statement said Ngeh's proposal for non-Muslim experts' appointment to the special committee was baseless, saying that all 11 members that have already been appointed each have expertise in the Federal Constitution, civil laws and Shariah laws and are qualified to propose the best and harmonious resolution of all related issues to enhance Shariah laws and the Shariah judicial system.

Also on December 29, the Selangor Sultan as the MKI chairman reminded non-Muslims to respect and not interfere in Islamic affairs in Malaysia, following Ngeh's proposal. He also took note of Loke's statement.

This morning, Anwar issued a brief statement backing the Selangor Sultan's reminder for respect and non-interference in Islamic affairs, while also saying that non-Muslims could write into the MKI if there are any doubts to resolve any confusion harmoniously.

This was then followed by Amirudin's statement this afternoon and subsequently Ngeh's apology.