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Court Throws Out Kassim Ahmad's Bid To Challenge Decision Charging Him For Insulting Islam

KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 (Bernama) -- A former political and social activist, Dr Kassim Ahmad, Monday failed in his attempt to challenge the prosecution's decision of having charged him in the Putrajaya Syariah High Court for insulting Islam and not complying with religious authorities.

High Court Judge (Appellate and Special Powers) Datuk Zaleha Yusof dismissed Kassim's leave application for a judicial review to challenge the decision and ruled that the civil court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter (leave application).

She made the ruling in chambers after allowing the preliminary objection by the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) against Kassim's leave application.

Counsel Rosli Dahlan represented Kassim while Senior Federal Counsel Suzana Atan acted for the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, Federal Territories Syarie Chief Prosecutor Ibrahim Deris, Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (JAWI) and the Government of Malaysia, who were named as respondents in Kassim's application.

Suzana told reporters the court allowed the objection after it agreed with the AGC's submission that the civil court had no jurisdiction to hear the application.

The senior federal counsel said the judge also ruled that the matter was within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Syariah Court.

Rosli told reporters that he would appeal against the court's decision immediately as the Putrajaya Syariah High Court had fixed this Thursday to hear Kassim's case.

On March 27, Kassim pleaded not guilty to the two charges of insulting Islam and defying religious authorities.

Rosli said Justice Zaleha turned down Kassim's leave application for a judicial review because she was bound by a recent Federal Court ruling on the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court.

On July 9, the AGC filed the preliminary objection on the grounds that the civil court had no jurisdiction to hear Kassim's application as there was a Syariah criminal case involving him which was being tried at the Putrajaya Syariah High Court.

Suzana, on that day, submitted that Article 121 (1A) of the Federal Constitution was very clear that the civil court had no jurisdiction when the matter was within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Syariah Court.

Kassim, 81, filed the application on June 26, seeking among others, a writ of certiorari order to strike out the Chief Syarie prosecutor's decision on March 27 to prosecute him with insulting Islam and defying religious authorities at the Putrajaya Syariah High Court.

He requested that his case proceedings in the Syariah High Court be suspended pending the decision of the judicial review.

Kassim also applied for an order to quash the action and decision of JAWI enforcement officers who had allegedly raided, ransacked and seized his publication materials, as well as inspected, and detained and removed him from Kedah to the Federal Territory.

He applied for an order to strike out any arrest, search and confiscation warrants and bond attached thereto; a declaration that the action of JAWI officers and the prosecution against him were ultra vires and contravened the provisions in the Federal Constitution, Federal Territories Syariah Acts and Kedah Syariah Enactments; and a declaration that the offence of violating a 'fatwa' (edict) issued in the Federal Territories only applied to Federal Territory residents.

--BERNAMA





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