PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has set Dec 8 to deliver its judgment in an appeal by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) and the state government to reinstate a 35-year-old woman’s conversion to Islam.
Lawyer A Surenthra Ananth, a member of the legal team representing the woman, said the Court of Appeal informed parties of the new decision date last Friday.
The change in date became necessary after Anwar Ibrahim declared Monday a public holiday following his appointment as the prime minister last Thursday.
The original decision date was fixed on Sept 13 by Justice Yaacob Md Sam, who chaired the panel that heard the case, after the court heard oral submissions from lawyers Haniff Khatri Abdulla, representing Mais, and Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, who appeared for the woman.
State legal adviser Salim Soib @ Hamid appeared for the Selangor government, which was named a co-appellant.
The other judges who heard Mais’ appeal were Justices P Ravinthran and Nazlan Ghazali.
The woman, who originally professed the Hindu faith, was still a child when she was converted to Islam unilaterally by her mother.
Born in 1986, she said her mother unilaterally converted her in 1991 at the Selangor Islamic religious department’s (Jais) office.
The conversion took place while her parents were in the midst of a divorce, which was finalised the following year.
Her mother went on to marry a Muslim man in 1993, and her father died in an accident three years later.
The woman contended that her parents had allowed her to continue practising the Hindu faith despite her conversion into Islam.
She also claimed not to have uttered the “kalimah shahadah” (affirmation of faith) at the time of her conversion into Islam.
Instead, she said, she continued to frequent Hindu temples and celebrate Hindu religious festivals with her father’s relatives.
In 2013, the woman filed an application in the Kuala Lumpur shariah high court seeking to renounce Islam. Her application was dismissed in 2017.
The shariah court instead ordered her to attend a series of counselling and faith consultation sessions.
The shariah appeals court upheld that ruling.
In May last year, she filed a suit in the Shah Alam High Court, seeking a declaration that she was not a Muslim. The court granted the declaration last December.