PETALING JAYA: Several rights groups have urged the authorities to take action against those making death threats against a lawyer involved in a constitutional challenge on Kelantan’s shariah law.
The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) and five other groups claimed that Kelantan-born lawyer Nik Elin Zurina Nik Abdul Rashid has been subject to threats over the case currently before the Federal Court.
They urged the parties to stop the threats, saying it is a crime punishable with up to seven years’ jail or a fine, or both, if convicted.
“Nik Elin’s courageous stance in challenging the constitutionality and validity of state shariah laws enacted by the Kelantan assembly highlights the critical need to protect and defend the supremacy of the Federal Constitution,” the groups said in a joint statement.
“It is alarming and deeply concerning to see continuous harassment, attacks and death threats directed towards Nik Elin, especially as they appear to be an attempt to suppress and silence her voice for speaking out against injustices.
“We call upon the authorities to take action against the perpetrators responsible for these threats.”
The groups also warned the public against disseminating hate, issuing threats or encouraging violence towards Nik Elin.
The statement was signed by JAG, the Centre for Independent Journalism, Freedom Film Network, Malaysian Action for Justice and Unity, Reproductive Rights Advocacy Alliance Malaysia, and Suara Rakyat Malaysia.
Nik Elin and her daughter, Tengku Yasmin Nastasha Tengku Abdul Rahman, filed a constitutional challenge regarding the 20 provisions contained in the Kelantan Shariah Criminal Code (I) Enactment 2019, which they claimed were invalid as there were federal laws covering the same offences.
They contended that the power to legislate on criminal matters belonged exclusively to Parliament, with state assemblies only given the right to enact laws concerning the Islamic faith.
They went directly to the Federal Court as it has exclusive jurisdiction to decide such questions, based on Article 128(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution.
A nine-member bench of the Federal Court heard the mother and daughter’s petition last week. The case has been adjourned to a date to be fixed later.