Friday 09 Jun 2023
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KUALA LUMPUR (March 6): The Federal Court has set May 22 to hear a woman's bid to challenge the appellate court's decision to reinstate her as a Muslim.

The woman, who turns 37 years old this year, and whose identity was withheld at the request of her lawyers, filed the leave application in late January.

She is challenging the Court of Appeal's (COA) Jan 13 decision to reinstate her status as a Muslim, following appeals by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) and the state government.

Surendra Ananth, the women’s counsel, confirmed the matter with The Edge when contacted.

In a two-to-one decision, COA judges Datuk Yaacob Md Sam and Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali ruled that the woman had failed to establish that she was not a person who professed the religion of Islam, and that her suit in the High Court fell outside the jurisdiction of the civil courts.

Judge Datuk P Ravinthran, who delivered the dissenting judgement, affirmed the High Court decision and dismissed the appeals.

Both Mais and the Selangor state government were appealing against the High Court's December 2021 declaratory order that the woman was not a person professing the religion of Islam.

The woman sought the order in her originating summons filed in May 2021, where Mais and the state government were named as defendants.

According to the written judgement released at a later date, High Court judge Datuk Dr Choo Kah Sing, among others, noted that this was not a case of the woman renouncing the religion of Islam, but rather that the woman was never a Muslim to begin with.

Therefore, referring to precedents, he ruled that the civil court had the jurisdiction to hear her case.

According to court documents, the woman was born in November 1986 to a non-Muslim couple.

Her parents separated, and amid divorce proceedings, her mother embraced Islam in 1991, and she was converted at the same time, when she was around four years and five months old.

The woman's father did not know about the conversion, and did not give approval or consent for his daughter's conversion up until his death in 1996.

The woman averred that she had been practising the Hindu religion, frequenting temples, and that her mother and stepfather had allowed her to profess and practise her chosen faith.

Edited ByAdam Aziz
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