Chief judge: Malaysian Shariah court has no jurisdiction over apostasy cases outside country

Jerry Choong
·2-min read
Mohd Na’im said the Islamic court here could take action against Muslims of any nationality but only if their religious offences are committed locally. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Mohd Na’im said the Islamic court here could take action against Muslims of any nationality but only if their religious offences are committed locally. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 — The country’s Islamic judicial system only has authority over Muslims in Malaysia and cannot act on cases of apostasy outside the nation, a senior Shariah court official said.

Berita Harian reported Shariah Judiciary Department director-general Datuk Seri Mohd Na’im Mokhtar as saying the Islamic court here could take action against Muslims of any nationality but only if their religious offences are committed locally.

“As it is known, the Shariah court is limited to only Muslims. But its jurisdiction does not take into consideration the Muslim individual’s nationality when looking at charges.

“As long as the charge is said to have occurred within the country, then anyone including Muslim foreign citizens can face action per the Shariah Criminal Offences Enactments,” he said after a preliminary court proceedings in Perak’s Chief Shariah Court.

Mohd Na’im, the chief judge of the Shariah court, earlier participated in the case of an Indonesian woman who is accused of having apostatised and abetted by a local man, a video of which was circulated online.

The man in question is being investigated by the police under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948, Section 298 and Section 505(C) of the Penal Code, and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

Mohd Na’im said that as the man is a non-Muslim, he will be investigated under the civil law system.

In the video, the man is reported to have told the Indonesian woman that for a non-Muslim man to marry a Muslim woman, she must first change her religion in another country.

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