SIS: Court’s fatwa challenge refusal dark moment for Malaysia, women’s rights

While acknowledging the company SIS is an “artificial legal person”, the judge said its directing minds are Muslims and their activities touch on Islamic law which the fatwa is applicable on.

(MMO) – The High Court’s decision today that it had no power to hear Sisters in Islam’s (SIS) challenge against a 2014 Selangor fatwa is “damning” for Muslim women and a dark moment for Malaysia, the women rights advocacy group said.

SIS executive director Rozana Isa said the High Court’s ruling is a “very damning decision on women’s rights, on women’s voices, on Muslim women and on Malaysians in general”.

“The fact it has gone a step further to lift the corporate veil, I think it is something that all Malaysians should be aware of. Because what are the standards for this?

“Even lifting the corporate veil for a fraud case has very high standards, and what are the standards that have been applied to SIS?” she told reporters immediately after the High Court’s decision.

High Court judge Datuk Nordin Hassan had dismissed SIS’ legal challenge solely by ruling that the civil courts had no jurisdiction to decide on the case, and that SIS should instead head to the Shariah courts to challenge the fatwa.

The judge went on to provide his views on other legal points, saying that the Selangor fatwa applies to SIS Forum (Malaysia) even if it was just a company.

Companies and their directors are usually considered separate legal entities, but the judge said justice in this case requires this corporate veil to be lifted.

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