Malaysia's Federal Court rejects hudud law challenge


PUTRAJAYA - The Federal Court has thrown out the case of three Kelantan Gerakan members who disputed the legality of PAS' hudud law, saying they did not state that they are Muslims.

Federal Court judge Justice Zaharah Ibrahim, who sat alone, denied leave for applicants Tuan Mat Tuan Wil, Soh Hoon Lee and Chung Mon Sie because they did not show that they would be affected by the hudud law.

"I have examined the affidavits of the applicants and cannot find anywhere in the affidavits a statement to the effect that their specific rights are affected or will be affected by the law being challenged.

"The law being challenged is only applicable to Muslims.

Yet, none of the affidavits contain a statement that anyone of the applicants is a Muslim and therefore will be subjected to the law being challenged," she said in her decision.

She did not make any order as to costs.

In the application to challenge the legality of Syariah Criminal Code Enactment (II) (1993) Amendment 2015, the three Kelantanese named the Kelantan state government as respondent.

Counsel for the applicants Andy Yong Kim Seng said they would file a new application challenging the hudud law incorporating the requirement laid out by Justice Zaharah.

Yesterday, the applicants' lead counsel Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram argued that the Bill passed by the Kelantan state assembly was uncons­titutional.

He said the application was not frivolous and vexatious as the law sought to deal with criminal and procedure matters which were within the powers of Parliament.

The state government's lead counsel Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah submitted that the applicants do not show that any of their interests had been affected by the law and that the application was premature and that it was merely an academic challenge.

Senior Federal Counsel Suzana Atan, who acted for the Malaysian Government as intervener in the application, argued that the applicants were challenging the punishments when the enactment was only applicable to Muslims.

Speaking to reporters later, Sulaiman said the ruling meant that those who had their interests clearly affected by law could challenge it.

Kelantan government co-counsel Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan, who is also PAS secretary-general, said hudud law was valid and that the party had not made any decision on the tabling of a Private Members Bill on the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 because they were waiting for a decision at the High Court.

"The Act needs to be amended in order for us to enforce hudud law," added Takiyuddin.