Jurisdictional conflict between Islamic law and Civil laws
A Review of the Judg,emt pf the Federal Court in
Latifah Bte Mat Zin v Rosmawati Binti Sharibun1
A L R Joseph, MA, LLB
of Gray’s Inn, Barrister
Advocate & Solicitor
(Malaya & Singapore)
In Malaysia, Muslims are governed, in (“substantially”3) personal law matters, by Islamic law as set out in the various state Islamic law administration statutes.4 The High Court of Malaya and the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak do not have jurisdiction in respect of any matter within the jurisdiction of syariah courts.5 However, long before 10 June 1988 (when Article 121(1A) was created by amendment – Act A 704) a historical and embarrassing problem that civil courts6 faced in the Malay States (Tanah Melayu) was to be found in the the well–established assertion (to quote Thorne J in Ramah binti Ta’at v Laton binti Malim Sutan7) that:
‘[Muslim law is not] a question of foreign law at all, but [one of the law of this land]. The local law is a matter of which the Court must take judicial notice. The Court must propound the law, and it is not competent to the Court to allow evidence to be led as to what is the local law.’
The embarrassment is contained in the fact that judges of the civil courts
lacked (and still do lack) adequate knowledge of the Islamic law thereby
requiring, in practice, expert evidence to be led, whatever the personal skill
of the individual judge.
So even in the 1920s, in British colonial Malaya, there arose a debate as to whether civil judges were best equipped to deal with Muslim law. In Ramah binti Ta’at v Laton binti Malim Sutan8 itself, Thorne J – after stating that he ‘cannot claim to any abstruse knowledge of [Muslim] law’ – suggested common legislation throughout Federated Malay States (FMS) on divorce and succession, and the like, and a special court structure for its administration. In the same case, however, Farrer–Manby J thought the existing courts were competent to take evidence of Muslim law as well as matters of custom, by virtue at least of section 57 of the then Evidence Enactment.9 Little did those colonial judges know that 80 years later the jurisdictional debate would take such politically–charged centre stage in 21st century Malaysia.
Despite, even today, there being no all encompassing nationwide Islamic legislation in Malaysia, like the Singapore Administration of Muslim Law Act10, for instance, the basic Islamic law is more or less similar, being founded on the orthodox tenet of the Shafi’i school of law, there are inevitable local variations, and so care must be taken to identify the state system affecting any particular issue. In the States of Malaysia, a federal law, the Muslim Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 196511 conferred jurisdiction upon courts constituted under any state law, for the purposes of dealing with offences dealing with offences under Muslim law. Moreover, under item 1 of the State List12 state legislatures are given power to make law for the ‘creation and punishment of offences by persons professing the religion of Islam against precepts of that religion, except in regard to matters included in the Federal List.’13
The aim of the amendment which created Article 121(1A) – which provides that the two civil High Courts ‘shall have no jurisdiction in respect of any matter within the jurisdiction of the syariah courts’ – was in many ways to avoid for the future any conflict between the decisions of the syariah courts and the civil courts.14 Unfortunately, however, it appears to have caused even more confusion, uncertainty and conflict than ever was the case.
2. The Purpose
Since the amendment (to some egregious amendment) to Article 121, numerous cases involving the issue of conflict of jurisdiction of the civil and syariah courts have gone up to both courts.15 Recently the Federal Court, in Latifah Bte Mat Zin v Rosmawati Binti Sharibun16 (hereinafter referred to as Latifah v Rosmawati), was called upon to deal with a typical case involving such a conflict. The purpose of this article is to ascertain where we stand in relation to this conflict in the light of the in–depth and wide–ranging judgment of Abdul Hamid Mohamad FCJ in Latifah v Rosmawati.
3. Constitutional Separation of Legislative Jurisdiction
Abdul Hamid Mohamad FCJ pointed out in Latifah v Rosmawati that, whereas the Federal Parliament under Article 74 of the Federal Constitution has extensive powers over matters listed in the Federal List (which includes external affairs, defence, internal Security and marriage and divorce), it does not have the power to legislate in the following areas:17
(a) In relation to civil and criminal law and procedure and the administration of justice, in respect of the constitution and organisation of the syariah courts.18
(b) In respect of Islamic personal law relating to marriages, divorce,
guardianship, maintenance, adoption, legitimacy, family law, gifts or
succession, testate and intestate.19
Abdul Hamid Mohamad FCJ gave a number of examples of how the constitutional arrangement under Article 74 secured fairly clear–cut separation to avoid conflict in this area. His Lordship observed:20
‘To give one example, while Parliament may make law in relation to marriage and divorce, it is not permitted to make law on the same subject–matter affecting Muslims because it falls under paragraph (ii) as Islamic personal law relating to marriage and divorce. The net effect is that marriage and divorce law of non–Muslims is a matter within the jurisdiction of Parliament to make, while marriage and divorce law of Muslims is a matter within the jurisdiction of the Legislature of a State to make’
In these areas, there should be no room for conflict because Parliament, on the
one hand, and the state legislatures, on the other, have clearly carved out
areas in which they can legislate and clearly stipulated areas in which they
cannot legislate. In those circumstance, room for legislative conflict is
Indeed, his Lordship further observed in Latifah v Rosmawati that if laws are made by Parliament and state legislatures in strict compliance with the Federal List and State List there should not be any situation where both courts have jurisdiction over the same matter or issue.21 However, his Lordship warned that one instance where such overlapping and conflicting jurisdictional problem could arise is where state legislatures overreach and make laws which are within the domain of the Federal Parliament. He went on the say that he was quite certain that there are such laws but refused to list them.
4. The Encroachment of State Legislatures Into Federal Matters
Even though, Abdul Hamid Mohamad FCJ did not list the state laws which have encroached on the Federal legislative domain, one area in which such encroachment is abundantly clear is in the area of criminal law. Under the Federal Constitution, criminal law is nearly completely a federal matter.22 However, pursuant to Schedule 9, List II, Item 1 state assemblies are empowered to create and punish offences against the precepts of Islam, except as regards matters included in the Federal List. The Federal Court23 has made clear there are two constitutional qualifications to the exercise of this power:
(a) Where an offence is already in existence in the Federal Penal Code, for example, a state assembly cannot create a similar offence, for to do so would offend against the exception in Item 1 that no further state legislation is allowable where ‘matters [are already] included in the Federal List’.
(b) Moreover, since Item 4(k) provides that ascertainment of Islamic law and
other personal law is a federal matter, there are swaths of Islamic matters
which come under Federal purview. The Federal Court pointed out that banking,
finance and insurance are matters listed in the Federal List24, accordingly the
question whether a particular product of banking, finance or insurance is syariah–compliant falls within Item 4(k) and is a federal matter.
As stated by Professor Shad Saleem Faruqi25:
‘[M]urder, theft, robbery, rape, incest and homosexuality are all offences in Islamic law but are clearly in federal hands due to Schedule 9, List I, Item 4(h) and the Federal Penal Code. Murder is covered by sections 300, 302 and 307 of the Penal Code. Theft is dealt with by sections 378 – 382A; robbery by sections 390 to 402; and rape in section 375 – 376. Incest and homosexuality can be covered by sections 377A to 377C of the Penal Code. State Enactments on these federal matters would, therefore, be ultra vires the powers of the States.’
However, he points to very many examples of state criminal enactments which
contravene both the spirit and letter of Schedule 9, List II, Item 1. For
example, the Syariah Criminal Offences (State of Penang) Enactment 199626 contains
many provisions that overlap with federal criminal offences. Among them are:27
• Section 7 on insulting or bringing into contempt the religion of Islam. This overlaps with section 298 of the federal Penal Code;
• Section 8 on deriding Quranic verses or Hadith. This too may be covered by section 298 of the Penal Code;
• Section 18 on gambling. This overlaps with the federal Gaming Tax Act 1972 (Act 65);
• Section 25 and 26 relating to liwat and musahaqah. These are covered by sections 377A to 377C Penal Code;
• Section 30 about giving false evidence which is also covered by section 191 of the Penal Code;
• Section 32 relating to the defiling of a mosque. This is similar to section 295 of the Penal Code;
• Sections 43 to 46 on Abetment. These sections overlap with sections 107 to 114 of the Penal Code.
Indeed, Professor Faruqi gives many other examples; and, frankly, little needs to be said about the legislative products of PAS led state assemblies in Kelantan and, up to recently, Terengganu. These are examples of recalcitrant behaviour of state assemblies which create for the future jurisdictional conflicts which the Federal Court will eventually have to deal with.28
Outside the criminal law sphere, where a state legislature makes laws which infringe on matters within the Federal List, a question posed by Abdul Hamid Mohamad FCJ was whether, in these circumstances, were the civil courts to be asked to apply Article 121(1A) to exclude the jurisdiction of the civil court, should they oblige. His Lordship was emphatic in stating that the:29
‘civil court should not be influenced by such an argument. [Article 121(1A)] was not introduced for the purpose of ousting the jurisdiction of the civil courts. The question to be asked is: Are such laws constitutional in the first place? And the constitutionality of a such laws are a matter for the Federal Court to decide – Article 128’
This is a welcome added dimension to the debate about jurisdictional conflict
between the civil and syariah courts. The Federal Court has now stated that
where the jurisdiction of either the civil or the syariah courts are challenged
on constitutional grounds, the appropriate and only forum is the apex civil
court, the Federal Court.
This last ruling, put simply, means that it is still for the civil courts (now clearly identified as the Federal Court) to determine, when a court’s jurisdiction is challenged on constitutional grounds, the question whether a matter is within or without the jurisdiction of either court (the High Court or the syariah courts). That being so (and read together with what Abdul Hamid Mohamad FCJ said about the need to thwart attempts at trying to oust the jurisdiction of the High Court by overreaching state legislation30), it is clear that to speak of Article 121(1A) having taken away the jurisdiction of the civil courts in all matters pertaining to Islamic law is a fallacy.
It is submitted, therefore, that (even if the basis of a challenge of the jurisdiction of a court is not constitutional) when the question is whether a party (or subject matter or otherwise) to an action is a Muslim or not, it should logically follow (given that there is a 50:50, or whatever, chance that the relevant party may not be a Muslim (and so the syariah court would never have had jurisdiction over him31), the question of fact to determine whether he is a Muslim or not must always be determined by the civil court because, at least, the civil courts have jurisdiction over Muslims and non–Muslims, save that in certain matters of substantially personal law they are deprived of jurisdiction over Muslims, whereas syariah courts ipso facto never have jurisdiction over non–Muslims. A priori if it is determined that he is a Muslim, (and the matter is clearly within the jurisdiction of the syariah courts), it should be dealt with thereafter by the latter court.
High Court judges should never abdicate their duty to deal with such cases properly and robustly and not “pass the buck” (and, indeed, jurisdiction) willy–nilly by merely referring to Article 121(1A) and declaring supinely that it has taken away jurisdiction from the civil courts.32
5. The Syariah Court is an Inferior Court
The Federal Court in Latifah v Rosmawati also clarified what has been blatantly clear to most civil lawyers and that is the fact that the syariah court system inhabits a sphere within the judicial space which is inferior to the superior civil courts, that is the say the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Federal Court. These courts, by virtue of Articles 121(1), 121(1B) and 121(2), respectively, are established by the Federal Constitution.
As to the position of the syariah courts, Abdul Hamid Mohamad FCJ, observed as follows:33
‘A syariah court in a State is established or comes into being only when the Legislature of a State makes law to establish it, pursuant to the powers given to it by item 1 of the State List. In fact, the position of the syariah courts, in this respect, is similar to the Session Courts and Magistrates’ Courts… the last two mentioned courts… the Constitution calls “inferior courts”…’
6. The “Unfillable” Lacunae
In Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra ibni Almahrum Sultan Abdul Hamid34 (‘Tunku’), Low Hop Bing J (as he then was) propounded two matters:35
(i) that the High Court has jurisdiction over any matter that does not fall within the jurisdiction of the syariah court; and
(ii) that in the event that a state legislature does not exercise its powers to
legislate in order to confer jurisdiction upon its syariah courts, in any matter
properly found within the State List, ‘there is no impediment for the civil High
Court to exercise jurisdiction’.36
Were both of these propositions true, there would never arise a situation where no court has jurisdiction over a matter. However, the Federal Court in Latifah v Rosmawati has ruled that, since both civil and syariah courts are creatures of statute (to wit, the Constitution, federal laws and state enactments), their respect jurisdictions are conferred only by reference to relevant statutes. It follows that courts cannot assume jurisdiction over a matter merely because no other court has jurisdiction over it.37 Accordingly, the Low Hop Bing doctrine – akin to the natural law of physics that “nature abhors a vacuum” – has no application under Malaysian constitutional law.
Abdul Hamid Mohamad FCJ stated thus:38
‘… it is to the relevant statutes that [the courts] should look to determine whether they have jurisdiction or not. Even if the syariah court does not exist, the civil court will still have to look at the statutes to see whether it has jurisdiction over a matter or not. Similarly, even if the civil court did not exist, the syariah court will still have to look at the statutes to see whether it has jurisdiction over the matter or not… Just because [one] court does not have jurisdiction does not mean that [the other] has jurisdiction over it. So, to take an example… if one of the parties is a non–Muslim, the syariah court does not have jurisdiction over the case, even if the subject matter falls within its jurisdiction. On the other, just because one of the parties is non–Muslim does not mean that civil court has jurisdiction over the case if the subject matter is not within its jurisdiction.’
So his Lordship concluded that there may be cases over which neither court has
jurisdiction. And where cases fall into this lacunae, there are no straight
forward solutions. But clearly the courts should not attempt to solve this
intractable problem by venturing into creative judicial legislation. He was
instructional in observing as follows:39
‘The function of the court is to apply the law, not make or to amend law not made by the legislature. Knowing the inadequacy of the law, it is for the Legislature to remedy it, by amendment or by making new law. It is not the court’s function to try to remedy it.’
7. Many Unanswered Questions, One Answered Question!
Regrettably, Abdul Hamid Mohamad FCJ, did not find it necessary to answer all the certified questions put to the Federal Court in the Appeal in Latifah v Rosmawati. His Lordship took the view that it was only necessary for him to deal with questions touching on the crux of the case which disposes of the appeal before him.40 Even though his Lordship did take the liberty to take a wider look at the provisions of the Constitution relating to the jurisdictions of the civil and the syariah courts and to point out the problems that both litigants and the courts faced,41 the failure to answer certain well devised questions must be seen as a wasted opportunity to even further clarify certain pressing jurisdictional issues.
Be that as it may, his Lordship did answer one specific question that was put to him. That question may be posed as follows: Whether the word “jurisdiction” in Article 121(1A) is restricted to the express jurisdiction given by the relevant state administration of Muslim law legislation (the restrictive view) or extends to the wider jurisdiction of the syariah courts inferable from the matters stipulated in para 1, List II (State List) of the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution (the expansive view)?
This question has divided and the vexed the High Court over the last two decades and this has been no where better exemplified than in the divergent judgments of Abdul Kadir J in Md Hakim Lee v Majlis Agama islam Wilayah Persekutuan, Kuala Lumpur42 (‘Md Hakim Lee’), on the one hand, and Low Hop Bing J in In the estate of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra ibni Almahrum Sultan Abdul Hamid43 (‘Tunku’), on the other.
In Md Hakim Lee, the plaintiff, a Buddhist, converted to Islam and took the name Md Hakim Lee. He later by deed poll and statutory declaration renounced Islam and reverted to his original name. He sought a declaration from the High Court that he had made a valid renunciation of Islam and that he did not need the consent of the defendant in order to do so. In determining this application, Abdul Kadir J in the High Court in Kuala Lumpur was faced with a preliminary question of – given Article 121(1A) – whether the jurisdiction of the syariah courts is confined to those express jurisdiction given by the relevant state Muslim enactments or whether jurisdiction extends to include those jurisdiction which are not expressly legislated by the respective state assemblies but inherent in the court itself. After referring to the Ninth Schedule his Lordship found that Islamic law and personal and family law of persons professing the Islamic religion is included in para 1 of List II, the State List. Abdul Kadir J observed thus:44
‘To my mind… the Jurisdiction of the syariah courts is much wider than those expressly conferred upon it by the respective state legislation. The syariah court shall have jurisdictions over persons professing the religion of Islam in respect of any matter included in para 1.’
In the Tunku case, the question before Low Hop Bing J was whether a dispute
arising out of the administration of the estate of the late first Prime Minister
of Malaysia, the Tunku, relating to a marriage contracted with a non–Muslim
Chinese was a matter which the High Court could entertain. His Lordship found
that under Article 121 of the Federal Constitution (Ninth Schedule, List I –
Federal List) the High Court is conferred with jurisdiction over matters
relating to ‘probate and administration’.45 Moreover, the predominant position of
the provisions in the Courts of Judicature Act 1964 (Act 91)(‘CJA’), with
respect to other ordinary legislation, is specified in section of the CJA: which
provides that in the event of inconsistency or conflict between the CJA and
other written law – other than the Federal Constitution (the supreme law of the
land) itself – the CJA shall prevail. Furthermore, the Probate and
Administration Act 1959 covers both Muslims and non–Muslims. Added to this,
Orders 71 and 72 of the Rules of the High Court 1980 (‘RHC’) make procedural
rules for the High Court in respect of matters dealing with “probate and
administration” involving estates of Muslims. His Lordship observed (with, it is
submitted, a clearly restrictive position in mind):46
‘In any event, the Syariah Appeal Board of the Federal Territory Syariah Court has recently (on 8 July 1998) held that it is the High Court which should exercise jurisdiction over matters of “probate and administration” of Muslim estates: Jumaaton dan Satu Lagi v Raja Hizaruddin  6 MLJ 556… Our High Court has jurisdiction over any matter that does not fall within the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court …47 Conversely, our High Court has no jurisdiction over any matter that falls within the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court: art 121(1A)… It is for the respective state legislatures to legislate on the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court for a particular state: art 74(2) Federal Constitution, Ninth Schedule, List II – State List, para 1… In the event that a state legislature does not exercise its powers to so legislate, there is no impediment for the civil High Court to exercise jurisdiction …48 The civil jurisdiction of the Syariah Court does not include such matters as “probate and administration”… Jurisdiction conferred upon a Syariah Court is by way of express provision, not by implication… Although Abdul Kadir J in Md Hakim Lee v Majlis Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan  1 MLJ 681 held, inter alia, that the Syariah Court has jurisdiction over persons professing the religion of Islam in respect of any matter included in para 1 of List II – State List… the Syariah Court would, in my view, have no jurisdiction over matters of “probate and administration” affecting a person professing the religion of Islam because the paragraph does not include “probate and administration”, even if the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court is given the widest possible interpretation.’ [Emphasis added]
The present writer has always taken the view that the restrictive view must be
the better view. If a state assembly desires to bestow jurisdiction on its own
syariah courts to deal with a certain matter, all it has to do is to legislate
accordingly: as it is empowered to do under the State List. If a state assembly,
in it wisdom chooses not to so legislate, its syariah courts cannot claim
jurisdiction through the backdoor, over certain matters by some nebulous
doctrine of automatic implication merely because these matters are stipulated
under the Federal Constitution to be matters on which the state assemblies
legislate, without there actually being enabling legislation.
It is submitted that the judgment of Abdul Hamid Mohamad FCJ in Latifah v Rosmawati supports the view as expressed by Low Hop Bing J (and the present writer) that syariah courts derive jurisdiction only by express provision and not by implication.
Abdul Hamid Mohamad FCJ observed that the High Court, Session courts and Magistrates’ courts, derive their jurisdiction from federal laws.49 In the case of syariah courts the relevant constitutional provisions50 provide that state assemblies in making law to “constitute” and “organize” the syariah courts shall also provide for the jurisdictions of such courts within the limits allowed by Item 1 of the State List, for example, it is limited only to persons professing the religion of Islam. He went on to say that the use of the words “any” between the words “in respect only of” and “of the matters”51 means that a state legislature may choose one or some or all of the matters allowed under the State List to be included within the jurisdiction of the syariah courts. His Lordship concluded, therefore, that:52
‘It can never be that once the syariah courts are established the courts are seized with jurisdiction over all the matters mentioned in item 1 automatically. It has to be provided for.’
The following conclusions and lessons can be drawn from the decision of the Federal Court in Latifah v Rosmawati:
(a) The intended aim (‘to avoid for the future any conflict between the decisions of the syariah courts and the civil courts’53) of the amendment which created Article 121(1A) has not only not materialised, it has, in the event (nearly 20 years later), had the very opposite effect. Unfortunately, it appears to have caused even more confusion, uncertainty and conflict than ever was the case.
(b) If laws are made by Parliament and state legislatures in strict compliance with the Federal List and State List there should not be any situation where there would be a clash of jurisdiction. However, where state legislatures overreach and make laws within the domain of the Federal Parliament such conflict cannot be avoided. Unfortunately, there are such state laws, no more more apparent than in the area of criminal law.
(c) Where there is any challenge to the jurisdiction of the High Court or the syariah courts, on constitutional grounds, the appropriate and only forum to resolve the issue is the apex civil court, the Federal Court. Accordingly, it is still for the civil courts (now clearly identified as the Federal Court) to determine, when a court’s jurisdiction is challenged on constitutional grounds, the question whether a matter is within or without the jurisdiction of either court (the High Court or the syariah courts).
(d) It is clear that to speak of Article 121(1A) having taken away the jurisdiction of the civil courts in all matters pertaining to Islamic law is a fallacy. ‘[Article 121(1A)] was not introduced for the purpose of ousting the jurisdiction of the civil courts.’54
(e) The syariah courts are inferior courts. They inhabit a sphere within the judicial space which is inferior to the superior civil courts, that is the say the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Federal Court.
(f) The current legislative and judicial constitutional arrangement means that there will be cases over which neither court has jurisdiction. And where cases fall into this lacunae, there are no straight forward solutions. But what is clear is that the courts should not attempt to solve this intractable problem by venturing into creative judicial legislation. ‘The function of the court is to apply the law, not make or to amend law not made by the legislature. Knowing the inadequacy of the law, it is for the Legislature to remedy it, by amendment or by making new law. It is not the court’s function to try to remedy it.’55
(g) The syariah courts derive jurisdiction only by express provision and not by implication. ‘It can never be that once the syariah courts are established the courts are seized with jurisdiction over all the matters mentioned in item 1 [of the State List] automatically. It has to be provided for.’56
1 Infra n 3
2 The introductory material of this article is taken from the unpublished lecture notes of the late Professor R H Hickling QC, the copyright of which remains with his estate.
3 See Latifah Bte Mat Zin v Rosmawati Binti Sharibun [Rayuan Civil No 02–39–2006(W)] a judgment of the Federal Court delivered on 25 July 2007 (Abdul Hamid Mohamad, Arifin Bin Zakaria & Augustine Paul FCJJ) (per Abdul Hamid Mohamad FCJ at 13)
4 Islamic law is a state matter as provided under the Ninth Schedule, List II – State List, para 1. Article 74(2) of the Federal Constitution gives power to state legislatures to make laws in respect of any matter enumerated in the State List.
5 Article 121(1A) of the Federal Constitution
6 ‘… (as the term has become to be commonly used now) had established itself as “the court” in the country. Hence, the Federal Constitution, in the Chapter on the Judiciary talks about the “civil courts”.’ (Supra n 3 at 13)
7 6 FMSLR (1927) at 129
9 See now Evidence Act 1950
10 Chapter 3, 1999 Revised Edition
11 (2 of 1965)
12 Supra n 4
13 i.e. the List which enumerates the matters over which the Federal Parliament can legislate. Article 74(1) of the Federal Constitution gives the Federal Parliament power to make laws in respect of any matter listed in the Federal List or the Concurrent List (the 1st and 3rd Lists of Schedule 9)
14 See Ibrahim, Ahmad Mohamed, ‘The Amendment of Art 121 of the Federal Constitution: Its Effect on the Administration of Islamic Law’  2 MLJ xvii.
15 For a useful, chronological and exhaustive list of such cases see n 3 at 9–13.
16 Supra n 3
17 Pursuant to paragraph (ii) of the Item 4(e) of the Federal List
18 See Item 4(a) of the Federal List.
19 Item 4(e)(ii)
20 Supra n 3 at 20
21 Supra n 3 at 34–35.
22 See Item 4 of the Federal List
23 Supra n 3 at 21–22
24 Items 7 & 8, respectively
25 See http://www.malaysianbar.org.my/content/view/1847/27/
26 (No 3 of 1996)
27Supra n 25
28 Given that only the Federal Court, by virtue of Article 128(1), has the jurisdiction to determine the constitutionality of laws passed by Parliament and state assemblies.
29 Supra n 3 at 36
31 Especially since Abdul Hamid Mohamad FCJ made it clear that if a ‘non–Muslim party is the would–be Plaintiff, he is unable even to commence proceedings in the syariah court. If the non–Muslim party is the would–defendant, he would not be able to appear to put up his defence.’ See n 3 at 33
32 See the appalling decision of the High Court in Kaliammal a/p Sinnasamy v JAWI  1 MLJ 685
33 Supra n 3 at 25
34 Infra n 43
35 Ibid at 627–628
37 Supra 3 at 30
38 Ibid at 30–31
39 Supra n 3 at 32
40 Supra n 3 at 52
41 Supra n 3 at 50
42  1 MLJ 681
43  4 MLJ 623
44 Supra n 42 at 685
45 See section 24(f) of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964 (Act 91) (‘CJA’)
46 Supra n 43 at 627–628
47 Note that this jurisdiction is now called into question by what Abdul Hamid Mohamad FCJ had to say regarding jurisdictional vacuums in Latifah v Rosmawati. See sub–head 6 of this article above.
49 See Article 121
50 Item 1, State List, which provides that although state assemblies are empowered to legislate in respect of the constitution, organization and procedure of Syariah courts, they may “only” bestow jurisdiction upon syariah courts ‘over persons professing the religion of Islam and in respect only of any of the matters included’ in the relevant paragraph. [emphasis added]
52 Supra n 3 at 29–30
53 Supra n 14
54 Supra n 29
55 Supra n 39
56 Supra n 52