Lawyers Ordered to Address Questions of Jurisdiction in Malaysian Conversion Case

June 20, 2006

Source: Sun2Surf

On June 20, 2006 Sun2Surf reported, "Which should have jurisdiction to hear the case of former commando Sjn M. Moorthy/Mohamad Abdullah's religious conversion and his subsequent burial as a Muslim - the syariah or civil court? This was the primary question the Court of Appeal was interested in today (June 20, 2006) during an appeal by Moorthy's widow S. Kaliammal, against a High Court's dismissal of her application to bury her husband as a Hindu because the Syariah High Court had already declared him a Muslim convert. Lawyers, Moorthy's family members, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) including religious bodies, and reporters who had earlier expected lengthy submissions in the high-profile case, were caught off-guard when the court instructed lawyers to prepare written submissions in four weeks on the question of jurisdiction. Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Mokhtar Sidin, who presided with Datuk Denis Ong Jiew Fook and Datuk Abdul Aziz Mohamad, said this was a case of public interest and "we must make a very careful decision". 'The only question before us is on whether the civil High Court has jurisdiction to hear the case. If the court agrees that the High Court has jurisdiction to hear the case, we will send back the case to the High Court,' he said." "Your submissions must only be on the issue of jurisdiction and nothing else," said Mokhtar.