KUALA LUMPUR: The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has filed an appeal against the High Court’s decision to allow Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah to challenge the Shariah High Court’s decision over the committal proceedings against her.
The contempt proceedings was brought against Maria for her criticism of the Shariah High Court’s decision in imposing a jail term on Emilia Hanafi, who is the former wife of businessman SM Faisal SM Nasimuddin.
The AGC filed the notice in the Court of Appeal on Sept 9 because it was not satisfied with the High Court’s overall decision on Aug 22.
Senior federal counsel Ahmad Hanir Hambaly, who represented the AGC, confirmed the matter.
On Aug 22, judge Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh allowed Maria’s leave application for a judicial review after ruling that she had not challenged any part of the Islamic law that falls within the jurisdiction of the shariah court but she was challenging the jurisdiction of the court over the committal proceedings against her.
The application to initiate the committal proceedings was filed by SM Faisal following Maria’s comment which questioned the court’s decision in imposing a seven-day jail sentence on his ex-wife for rescheduling the visitation rights given to him.
Meanwhile, SM Faisal’s lawyer, Akberdin Abdul Kader, when contacted said during the online case management today, the court set Nov 2 to hear his client’s application to intervene in the judicial review.
Maria, 65, filed the application on March 3 last year, naming religious affairs minister Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri, the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) and federal territory shariah judiciary department as the first to third respondents.
Maria, among other things, applied for the High Court to quash the action and decision of the Shariah High Court on Oct 14, 2019, which she claimed had wrongly allowed the committal order and for a show cause notice to be issued on her, as it was against the provisions of the Federal Constitution and violated Rule 52 of the Rules of Court 2012 and the Syariah Court Civil Procedure (Federal Territories) Act 1998.
On Dec 4, 2020, Maria was ordered to show cause in the committal proceedings as to why she should not be charged with contempt of court for criticising the Shariah High Court’s decision.
This was due to the court’s rejection of her application for more time to challenge the court’s decision to allow committal proceedings to be initiated against her.