KUCHING, August 27: Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) reminded Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg of his pledge to amend the Syariah Court Ordinance 2001 with regards to apostasy cases.
PBDSB president Cobbold John said the next State Legislative Assembly (DUN) will be scheduled in November and reminded Abang Johari to realise the promise to amend the Syariah Court Ordinance 2001.
“He (Abang Johari) made the pledge at the opening of St Joseph International School on March 3, 2018 in Kuching and in front of Bishop of Kuching Datuk Simon Poh.”
“I hope the Chief Minister remembers his pledge as he had asked for six months to find solutions to the problems faced by the converts who wished to leave Islam and to become Christians again,” said Cobbold in a statement.
He said it was Abang Johari who said those Muslim converted who wished to get out of it should be allowed to do so.
“One way or the other, the government has to make decisions regarding apostasy cases,” said Cobbold
He said the Federal Court has already decided that apostasy cases can only be heard by the Syariah Court and not in the civil court.
“As I understand from the Federal Court’s ruling, the Syariah Court has no provisions to deal with apostasy cases, but there are provisions in the Majlis Agama Islam Sarawak Ordinance,” said Cobbold.
Abang Johari had on March 3, 2018 said he would amend the Sarawak Syariah Court Ordinance 2001 within six months to address administrative complications faced by converts upon leaving their Muslim faith.
In the same press conference, Abang Johari explained that currently, there is no judicial power to declare that the converts have left their faith, hence leaving them hanging and their application to change the information on their identification cards could not proceed.
The sensitive issue of apostasy was raised in March when the Federal Court here ruled that the Syariah Court had the jurisdiction to hear the vases of four Muslim converts seeking to renounce their faith. — DayakDaily