Zaid: “UMNO wanting a Constitutional amendment to empower Shariah laws is madness”

FORMER law minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has slammed UMNO’s response to the recent nullification of 16 provisions in the Kelantan Shariah law.

Taking to social media, the former UMNO member pointed out that it was “madness” to want the constitutional amendment to empower Shariah laws, asking if UMNO leaders know that the country is not a theocracy but one that is governed by civil law.

“For PAS and Bersatu to express shock and dismay at the decision of the Federal Court is expected, for they are in the opposition, but for UMNO to want a Constitutional amendment to empower Shariah laws is madness,” he penned on X on Sunday (Feb 11).

“What’s the UMNO deputy president saying when he wants JAKIM to examine the Constitutional amendment?

“Before Nik Elin’s case, didn’t these UMNO leaders know that since 1957, we are not a theocracy but a civil law country? That means not every religious law should be in the books; that civil laws are the primary source of laws in governing this country.

“The Shariah system is for personal laws, but the general body of laws is not religious laws. They didn’t know? Then they must be sleepwalking.”

On Friday (Feb 9), a Federal Court bench of nine judges in an 8-1 majority decision allowed a petition by Nik Elin and her daughter Tengku Yasmin Nastasha Tengku Abdul Rahman to nullify 18 Kelantan syariah criminal provisions.

The court ruled that Kelantan’s legislature exceeded its state-making power contained in the State List (List II) of the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

However, the apex court only allowed 16 out of the 18 to be invalidated.

Following the nullification, UMNO deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hassan said his party would ask relevant stakeholders like the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Islamic Affairs) Datuk Dr Mohd Na’im Mokhtar to look into a suggestion to amend the Federal Constitution to empower Shariah laws in the country.

However, he refuted claims that the Federal Court decision that nullified 16 Kelantan syariah criminal provisions was an attack on Islam or the Shariah legal system.

Mohamad, also known as Tok Mat, was responding to the opposition’s proposal to urge Putrajaya and all stakeholders to discuss a constitutional amendment to empower the Shaariah legal system.

Zaid further expressed his frustration towards the national leaders’ response for failing to properly explain the country’s judicial system as such amendments would have been a reactionary measure that could jeopardise the country’s future.

“If they want to keep Malaysia as it is, like other countries in the world, then they should defend the court’s decision. But their reactions are emotional and not grounded in reality,” he reckoned.

He advised Muslims in the country to question whether the religious laws are adequately implemented while raising some points to ponder upon.

“Your leaders will tell you that you need more religious laws. But tell them the Shariah laws we have now are not adequately implemented,” he stated.

“Why take many years to get a divorce? Why alimony and maintenance payments could not be speedily enforced? Why the backlog of cases in most syariah courts? Why is there no uniformity of laws between the states? Answer, please.” – Feb 12, 2024


Main pic credit: The Star

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