Muslim lawyers challenge Sultan’s decision

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani, The Malaysian Insider

The Malaysian Muslim Lawyers Association (PPMM) today disputed the Sultan of Pahang’s decision to commute Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarnor’s sentence, saying the ruler’s decree may not be in accordance with Islamic law.

They said that the rights and powers of the ruler as the head of the religion in the state were contingent on him defending Islamic law and the Syariah courts.

PPMM secretary-general, Abdul Halim Bahari, said that the Sultan’s decision also did not reflect Kartika’s wishes to be caned instead of performing community service.

“The royal decree does not take into account the wishes and desires of Kartika, who wants to be caned according the Syariah because of the offence committed by her. Kartika is also facing pressure to appeal against the caning penalty but is still determined to be sentenced according the Syariah,” Abdul Halim said in a press statement.

The part-time model was sentenced to six strokes of the rotan and fined RM5,000 for drinking beer at a hotel in Cherating on July 11, 2008.

However, the caning sentence that was delayed from last August was replaced with a community service order two days ago by the Sultan of Pahang, who is also the head of Islam in the state.

The state ruler had instead ordered her to perform community service at a children’s home in Kuantan for three weeks.

Muslim lawyers are now worried that the Sultan was not defending the country’s Islamic legal system.