Jakim committee to review, strengthen Shariah criminal laws after landmark ruling on ‘unnatural sex’
Datuk Seri Zulkifli Mohamad AI-Bakri said he has asked JAKIM’s legal advisor on the implications of the ruling. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 — Syarak and Civil Law Technical Committee under the Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) will hold discussions with relevant parties in its efforts to improve syariah laws, especially those related to syariah criminal offences in the country.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri said this was following the Federal Court’s decision that declared as unconstitutional a provision in the Selangor syariah law which makes it an offence to engage in unnatural sex, last Thursday.

“I have held discussions with Jakim’s legal advisor, to get his views on the legal implications of the Federal Court’s decision.

“The committee will hold a consultation session with states and stakeholders in an effort to strengthen and streamline syariah laws in Malaysia,” he said in a statement today.

In this regard, he called on all Muslims in the country to respect the court’s decision and urged them to refrain from making any speculation on the matter.

A nine-member bench led by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat held that Section 28 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Selangor) Enactment 1995 relates to matters that fall under the Federal Constitution’s Ninth Schedule Federal list, under Parliament’s power to enact laws.

The court granted a declaration sought by a 35-year-old man that Section 28 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.

Section 28 of the enactment makes it in an offence for any person who performs sexual intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding RM5,000 or a maximum three-year jail term or whipping not exceeding six strokes or any combination, on conviction.

On Aug 21, 2019, the man, whose identity is being withheld on the request of his lawyers, was charged with attempting to commit sexual intercourse against the order of nature with certain other male persons in a house in Selangor on Nov 9, 2018.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge and his trial at the Syariah High Court has been stayed pending the outcome of his legal challenge. — Bernama