Na’im: Govt prepared to amend constitution to avoid conflicts between syariah, civil courts

The government is prepared to immediately implement any necessary amendments to Federal Constitution provisions to avoid ongoing conflicts between the jurisdictions of the civil and syariah courts.

(NST) – Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Dr Mohd Na’im Mokhtar said the government was ready should any amendments be necessary.

However, he said this depended on whether the special committee to study issues related to the competence of state legislative assemblies to enact Islamic laws finds that there needed to be amendments and receives the consent of the Conference of Rulers.

“If the proposal and study (by the committee) leads to the necessity for amendments to be made to any provisions of the Federal Constitution, and their recommendations receives the approval of the Conference of Rulers, then the report will be brought before the cabinet.

“If it is found that certain provisions hinder efforts to empower the syariah court, and to prevent any form of conflict between the civil and syariah courts, certainly the cabinet will consider it and bring it to Parliament for recommendations regarding amendments,” he said.

Na’im this in response to a supplementary question from Mohd Sany Hamzan (PH-Hulu Langat) during the question-and-answer session in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Hamzan had inquired whether the government was prepared to amend the constitution to address the issues or conflicts arising between syariah and civil courts.

Na’im said that conflicts between the civil court and the syariah court are likely to persist and require urgent resolution.

Meanwhile, when answering the original question from Datuk Ahmad Saad @ Yahaya (PN-Pokok Sena), who asked about the latest development of the session involving the special committee, the minister said the committee was still in the midst of conducting a comprehensive study on the issue.

“To ensure a comprehensive study is conducted, all issues involving jurisdictional conflicts between the syariah court and the civil court are being examined and studied in detail.

“The special committee has also planned to hold engagement sessions with stakeholders, including the state syariah chief judge, state muftis, state Islamic religious councils, representatives from Islamic institutions, former judges and several individuals and other relevant parties as needed and appropriate to provide input, views, and suggestions to the special committee on the issues discussed,” he said.

Na’im said this approach indirectly helps the special committee to see all aspects related holistically, whether from civil and syariah legal aspects, including Islamic law.