- Malaysia's top court ruled Friday that more than a dozen Islamic rules put in place by the state of Kelantan are unconstitutional.1
- An 8-1 majority of the federal court's nine-member bench ruled 16 laws within Kelantan's Sharia criminal code 'void and invalid.' The nullified laws include provisions criminalizing sodomy, incest, gambling, sexual harassment, and defiling places of worship.1
- This case was filed by two women in 2022 after the majority-Muslim state enacted a new set of laws relating to Islamic offenses. The women argued against the constitutionality of 18 state laws, claiming they were already covered by parliament and beyond the jurisdiction of the state assembly.2
- The court ruled that Kelantan had no authority to enact the laws, as the issues were covered under Malaysian federal laws, and ruled against all but two of the laws in question.3
- Malaysia has a two-track legal system with Islamic criminal and family laws that are put in place by state legislatures and apply to Muslims, and secular laws that are put in place by Malaysia's parliament.3
- Hundreds of protestors, including Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party supporters and conservative Muslims, gathered outside the court ahead of the ruling, demonstrating in support of the protection of Shariah laws.4
- Narrative A, as provided by ABC News. This is a sad day for Islam in Malaysia. By challenging the power of Sharia laws in Kelantan, the federal courts have put into question the powers of Islamic laws across the country. Malaysia is an Islamic country and should be governed by Islamic laws.
- Narrative B, as provided by Al Jazeera. This ruling isn't an attack against Islam but an affirmation of the Malaysian constitution as the dominant law of the country. The powers of individual states are limited for a reason, and federal authority should be upheld. This ruling doesn't change the validity of the Sharia courts nor the existence of Islam as Malaysia's official religion.