• Nor Ashikin Md Nasir University of Malaya, Malaysia
  • Siti Zubaidah Ismail University of Malaya, Malaysia



The diversity of the legal provisions relating to renunciation of religion of Islam in Malaysia exists due to the different states legislations. Even some states do not have any provision for that matter. On the other hand, Shariah High Court in most of the states have been given the jurisdiction to declare Muslim status on religion but the power cannot be exercised effectively as there is no clear guidelines and laws governing it. For example, there is a case in Federal Territory which has been cancelled not because of the substance of the case but the applicant failed to observe the procedural law in filing the case. In Penang, the judge in Siti Fatimah Tan case had decided that she was not a Muslim after hearing the case without the attendance of the defendant. In one previous study also shows that the problem also occurs in Selangor that the Shariah Court cannot exercise the power to declare the religious status because there is no clear procedural rule governing that matter. Unlike in Sabah and Malacca, in order to renounce Islam, the applicant will be sent to the Faith Rehabilitation Centre for a specific period of time for a counseling session to persuade the applicant to repentĀ even though the procedures of the implementation is still unclear. Perak, Pahang and Terengganu have made the act of renouncing Islam an offence punishable under the law. Only Negeri Sembilan provides the processes to be followed regarding this issue. The provision in Negeri Sembilan seems to facilitate the Shariah court on the processes to be followed if application were made. This article seeks to examine the varieties of laws to identify the real problems and subsequently initiate suggestions to improve the existing laws.


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