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General : AG’s Chambers Files Preliminary Objection Against Kassim Ahmad’s Judical Review Application

KUALA LUMPUR, July 9 (Bernama) — The Attorney-General’s Chambers has filed a preliminary objection against the application for a judicial review filed by former political and social activist Dr Kassim Ahmad to challenge the prosecution’s decision to charge him for insulting Islam and not complying with religious authorities.

The objection was filed by Senior Federal Counsel Suzana Atan when the case was mentioned in chambers before High Court Judge (Appellate and Special Powers) Datuk Zaleha Yusof in the presence of Kassim’s lawyer, Rosli Dahlan.

Speaking to reporters later, Suzana said the preliminary objection was filed on 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.

“Article 121 (1A) of Federal Constitution was very clear that civil court has no jurisdiction when the matter is within the exclusive jurisdiction of Syariah Court,” she said.

Suzana said the court had fixed July 14 to decide on the preliminary objection.

In this case, Suzana is representing 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 and the Government of Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Rosli said that the civil court had a jurisdiction to review alleged misconduct by public authorities.

“All public authorities are subject to the Federal Constitution and the civil court could not avoid hearing the application for leave just because it is Islamic matter,” he said.

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 also 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 cancel the action and decision of Jawi enforcement officers who raided, ransacked and seized his publication materials, as well as had inspected, detained and removed him from Kedah to Federal Territories.

He also applied for an order to cancel 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 Federal Territories only applied to Federal Territory residents.

— BERNAMA

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