Seminar on Shariah Courts in Malaysia: Major Themes and Development
(Kuala Lumpur, 21 April 2015)
Ahmad Hidayat Buang explored the historical development of, and current issues pertaining to the Shariah courts in Malaysia, to examine whether or not the courts have indeed undergone transformation over the years. For a start, the courts have indeed undergone reform, from their original constitution set-up until the constitutional amendment of 1988, which introduced the now controversial Article 121 (1A), which excludes the High Court from any jurisdiction on matters falling within the ambit of the Shariah courts. So yes, there has been a transformation, but it is not so “radical” as the legal dualism of Shariah and civil law that is still retained within the legitimate structure established by the Federal Constitution. Still, the Shariah courts themselves are moving closer towards “civilianisation,” i.e. gradually becoming like the civil courts.