No legal immunity for Pahang mufti, says lawyer


PETALING JAYA: Abdul Rahman Osman’s status as the Pahang mufti does not grant him immunity from the law or carte blanche to make remarks about “kafir harbi”, says lawyer Syahredzan Johan.

“Bullocks. If its an offence under Sec 505 PC, he can certainly be charged. A mufti has no legal immunity that way,” Syahredzan tweeted today in response to reports of Rahman’s refusal to retract his statement.

The Pahang mufti had used the inflammatory label “kafir harbi” when taking the DAP to task for speaking out against PAS’ private member’s bill to elevate the status of the shariah courts.

He later defended himself saying that any fatwa issued by a mufti individually or through the fatwa committee could not be challenged by a court of law under Section 40 of the Administration of Islamic Law (Pahang) Enactment 1991.

Section 40 says that “any written law to the contrary, the mufti cannot be summoned to any civil court or shariah court to give opinion or evidence relating to Islamic Law”.

Syahredzan disagreed, saying that Section 40 only renders the mufti exempt from being summoned to court to give his opinion or evidence, not from being personally charged under the law.

He pointed out that even if it was intended to be a fatwa, it still had to be gazetted to be official.

“It was an opinion. Not a fatwa. Even a fatwa would still have to take a certain form. It would have to be gazetted and so on,” Syahredzan told FMT.

Syahredzan was in his tweet referring to Section 505 of the Penal Code, which states that “whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report…with intent to incite or which is likely to incite any class or community of persons to commit any offence against any other class or community of persons, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to two years or with fine or with both.”