Syariah Court should have clearer understanding of apostasy cases, says PBDSB

PBDS Baru (PBDSB) Youth Chief Rapelson Richard Hamit.

KUCHING, Feb 27: Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) holds the view that the Syariah Court must have a clear understanding of apostasy cases.

In a statement today, its youth chief Rapelson Richard Hamit expressed his regrets over the decision of the Federal Court which ruled that four apostasy cases should be heard in the Syariah Court and struck out the appeal to have the cases heard in the civil court.

Rapelson said the ruling was a violation of the right to religious freedom in Sarawak and the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

He said if the four were to be informed earlier, then they did not have to waste time filing their cases in the Federal Court.

“Today is a dark day for Sarawak Dayak,” said Rapelson.

He called for Sarawak Dayaks to stand united and defend their rights.

The four persons filing the appeal are Muslim-born Syarifah Nooraffyza Wan Hosen who had embraced Christianity in 2009, while the rest are Muslim converts Mohd Syafig Abdullah @ Tiong Choo Ting, Salina Jau Abdullah and Jenny Peter @ Nur Muzdhalifah Abdullah who wished to return to Christianity after their spouses passed away or following divorce.

On Sept 21, 2015, Tiong, Salina and Jenny’s cases were heard together and the High Court denied them leave that day.

Like in Syarifah Nooraffyza’s case, the High Court judge agreed with the argument by the respondents that the civil High Court has no jurisdiction to hear apostasy cases.

The respondents are the Sarawak Islamic Religious Department director, the National Registration Department director-general, the Sarawak Islamic Council and the Sarawak Government. — DayakDaily