The Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled today it does not have jurisdiction to hear Kassim Ahmad's judicial review application and dismissed it.
Kassim was attempting to remove the charges he is facing at the Putrajaya Syariah High Court.
He is being charged with deriding Islam at the Yayasan Kepimpinan Perdana seminar in Putrajaya in February under the Federal Territory Syariah Offences Act (FTSOA).
High Court judge Justice Zaleha Yusof allowed the preliminary objection raised by the Attorney-General's Chambers that it was bound by the recent Federal court decision in theSiti Hasnah Vangarama Abdullah(right) case which cited that the civil court does not have jurisdiction in matters pertaining to Islam.
Justice Zaleha also ruled that Kassim's case was different from the Border's store manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz’s case.
Although she was charged under the FTSOA, the matter was also affected by the Publication and Printing Presses Act 1984, as the book by Irshad Manji had not been banned yet during the raid.
Following today's development, Kassim's lawyers Rosli Dahlan and Abdullah Khubayb will file an appeal and also a stay of today's decision today.
This follows Kassim's case coming up at the Putrajaya Syariah High Court on Thursday. The AGC was represented by senior federal counsel Suzana Atan.
Jamil, Jawi and gov’t named as respondents
Kassim named Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Jamil Khir Baharom, the chief syariah prosecutor of the Federal Territories Islamic Affairs Department (Jawi), Jawi and the Malaysian government as respondents when he filed the judicial review on June 26, where he complained the Jawi authorities had broken down the door of his Kulim house in arresting him and bringing him back to KL.
He was charged on March 27 under Section 7(b) of the Syariah Offences (Federal Territories) Enactment 1997 with deriding Islam during the Yayasan Kepimpinan Perdana seminar, organised by former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in Putrajaya in February.
The scholar is charged with stating that people appear to idolise Prophet Muhammad and that the aurat of a woman does not include her hair.
He is also charged under Section 9 of the same enactment with violating the instructions of the religious authorities in delivering those views and for citing two books he authored, which have been banned by the Federal Territories Islamic authorities.
On May 6, the authorities levelled another charge against Kassim, but the charge was not read out in court when recording his plea, where a decision on this matter has been fixed for July 17.
He was seeking several declarations namely to quash the actions taken by Jawi, the issuance of a warrant of arrest against him, set aside the charges he faced and also to compel Jawi to give him the relevant documents pertaining to the charge, and to stop the authorities from prosecuting him.
He also sought a declaration that Jawi’s action ran contrary to the federal constitution and a declaration that the Federal territory fatwa is only applicable to those who live there and not in Kedah.