Seminar on "Shari’ah Courts in Malaysia: Major Themes and Development"
Venue: IAIS Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur.
Date: 21 April 2015 (Tuesday)
Time: 10:00am – 12:30pm
1. Professor Dr. Ahmad Hidayat Buang, Lecturer, Dept. of Shari’ah and Law, Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya
2. YAA Dr. Haji Mohd. Na’im Haji Mokhtar, Chief Judge, Department of Shari’ah Judiciary Selangor
Prof. Dr. Ahmad Hidayat Buang is currently a Professor at Shariah and Law Department, Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Studied at University of Malaya and received Bachelor in Shariah (Islamic Law) (first class honours) in 1987. Later, went to London to receive further training at School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and obtained LL.M in 1989 and PhD in 1996. Area of specialization is Islamic law of transactions and property, and contemporary issues of fatwa and Shariah courts in Malaysia. Has been teaching at the University of Malaya since 1987. Awarded a number of governmental and international research funds. Written and presented more than 30 articles and papers in journals and conference both locally and internationally. Authored and edited six books. Served as consultant and adviser on Shariah matters to several Banks and financial institutions in Malaysia and Singapore. Qualified Shariah Legal Counsel in the Federal Territory Shariah Courts. Appointed as visiting lecturer at Religious Department, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand in 2001, awarded as visiting research associate at Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, UK in 2005, visiting fellow at Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London in 2006 and visiting scholar at the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA. Hold various administrative posts at University of Malaya as Head of Shariah and Law Department 1997-1999, Deputy Director for Research and Development, Academy of Islamic Studies 2005-2006 and Director of Academy of Islamic Studies 2006-2011.
Dr. Hj. Mohd. Na’im Hj. Mokhtar is currently the Chief Syarie Judge of Selangor, Malaysia. Before his elevation to the post of Chief Judge, he had served as the Director of Family Support Division at the Department of Islamic Judiciary Malaysia and a Syariah High Court Judge for the state of Selangor. He was chosen and served as Malaysian Cheavening Visiting Fellow at Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Oxford University, United Kingdom for 2008/2009. He has also been appointed as Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School, Harvard University, USA for 2012/103. Apart from these, Dr. Mohd Na’im has been appointed as External Examiner for PhD candidates of International Islamic University, MARA University Technology (UITM) and National University of Malaysia(UKM). He has also been appointed as Adjunct Professor by the Law Faculty of University Technology Mara (UITM). He is also a committee member of Malaysian Qualifying Agency (MQA) and a member of National Islamic Council of Malaysia.
Dr Na’im has participated in many local and international seminars on his subject areas of specialization. He had also presented papers on family laws, shariah subjects and related topics at many conferences local as well as overseas forums. Dr Na’im also sits on a number of Shariah Advisory Boards of local and foreign Islamic banks and takaful companies. He has good command of Malay, English and Arabic language.
Ahmad Hidayat Buang explored the historical development of and current issues pertaining to 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 Shariah courts. So yes, there has been transformation but it is not so “radical” as the legal dualism of Shariah and civil law is still retained within the legitimate structure established by the Federal Constitution. Still, the Shariah courts themselves are moving closer towards “civilianization”, i.e. gradually becoming like the civil courts.
Political controversies aside, the Shariah courts do offer promising features lacking in civil courts. One of these was presented as a case study by Dr Naim, namely on the role of the Family Support Division (BSK) under the Shariah courts in enforcing and implementing court order requiring former husbands to pay maintenance to their ex-wives and children. The BSK was established as response to the startling finding that as many as 12,300 former husbands have neglected this basic responsibility, even after the ex-wives have obtained court order to that effect, no thanks to the previous lack of enforcement mechanism. Consequently, the court relied on Caliph ‘Umar al-Khattab’s dictum that “an order is useless if it cannot be enforced” to figure out means by which the court order is complied with. And the result is even more promising: nearly 60% of the husbands paid up. One was even able to fork out a whopping RM100,000 in cash for all the arrears. [by Tengku Ahmad Hazri]
10:00am – 10:05am Opening Remarks by the Moderator and Chair, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil Deputy CEO, IAIS Malaysia
10:05am – 10:10am Welcoming Remarks by Prof. Dr. Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Founding CEO, IAIS Malaysia
10:10am – 10:50am Presentation by Professor Dr. Ahmad Hidayat Buang "Transformation of Shari’ah Courts in Malaysia: Issues and Developments"
11:30am – 12:30pm Q&A Session
12:30pm - Concluding Remarks by Moderator; Adjournment and Refreshments
Download PowerPoint Presentations (in PDF format)