Khalid fails to challenge legality of Selangor religious law

khalid-samad_law_new600PETALING JAYA: Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad’s legal battle to challenge the constitutionality of a provision in the Selangor Islamic religious law has come to an end.

A three-man Federal Court bench, chaired by Chief Justice Raus Sharif, dismissed Khalid’s leave application as he did not cross the threshold of Section 96 of the Courts of Judicature Act.

“The court declined to grant leave as the two legal questions posed by the applicant (Khalid) are settled law,” government lawyer Suzana Atan told FMT after proceedings.

An applicant must frame legal questions that are of public advantage and raised for the first time or that have bearing on the Federal Constitution.

On Jan 19, Khalid, who is also Amanah communication chief, was fined RM2,900 after he was found guilty of giving a religious talk at a surau in Taman Seri Sementa in 2011 without valid credentials.

This is an offence under Section 119 (1) of the Selangor Islamic Religious Administration Enactment.

Last November, a three-man Court of Appeal bench, led by Vernon Ong Lam Kiat, said Khalid should have gone straight to the Federal Court as the subject matter revolved around the competence of the Selangor state assembly to pass enactments.

Ong said the issue was not whether Section 119 (1) of the enactment was in breach of freedom of religion under Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.

Suzana, who also appeared in the Court of Appeal, took the position that Khalid should have utilised Article 4 (1) to first obtain leave from a single Federal Court judge before mounting the legal challenge.

“His mode of filing a judicial review in the High Court to challenge the validity of the enactment is misplaced,” she had said.

Last year, soon after the religious court ordered him to enter his defence, Khalid filed a judicial review in the Shah Alam High Court to challenge the constitutionality of the provision.

On May 30, 2016, Justice Yazid Mustafa declined to grant leave to challenge the provision on grounds that the application was frivolous, vexatious and intended to delay Khalid’s trial in the religious court.

Khalid has appealed the Shariah Lower Court’s decision in the Shariah High Court to quash the conviction.

Article 48(1)(e) of the constitution says an MP will lose his eligibility as Dewan Rakyat member when convicted by a court and jailed for a minimum of one year or fined not less than RM2,000.