PETALING JAYA: The reactions of Malay politicians to lawyer Nik Elin Zurina Nik Abdul Rashid and her daughter Tengku Yasmin Nastasha Tengku Abdul Rahman’s case shows how little they think about the country’s future, former law minister Zaid Ibrahim said.
“They seem unable and unwilling to explain to the people that the choice is either we are a democracy governed by one set of general laws, like most countries, or we are an Afghanistan-Iranian-type theocracy.
“If they (Malay politicians) want to keep Malaysia as it is, like other countries in the world, then they should defend the court’s decision, but their reactions are emotional and not grounded in reality,” he said on X.
Zaid also took a swipe at Umno’s reaction towards the ruling.
“Before Nik Elin’s case, didn’t these Umno leaders know that since 1957, we are not a theocracy but a civil law country?
“This means not every religious law should be in the books; civil laws are the primary source of legislation governing this country.
“The shariah system is for personal laws, but the general body is not religious laws. Didn’t they know? They must be sleepwalking,” the former Umno member said.
Zaid also urged Muslims to not temper the Federal Constitution.
“If you divide this country into two legal systems, you will be disadvantaged for generations, but the ramifications are more severe for the country as a whole.
“Your leaders will tell you that you need more religious laws, but tell them the shariah laws we have now are not adequately implemented,” he said.
Nik Elin and Tengku Yasmin Nastasha filed the petition in 2022, challenging the constitutionality of 18 provisions in Kelantan’s Syariah Criminal Code (I) Enactment 2019.
On Friday, the Federal Court struck down 16 of the 18 provisions on the grounds that they are unconstitutional.
On Saturday, Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan called for swift action to resolve any issues that could potentially create “an unstable situation”.
He also said the party will ask Jakim, the religious affairs minister, and the law and institutional reform minister whether it was necessary to amend the constitution to prevent such occurrences from happening again, because it would tarnish the very system of shariah law and the judiciary.