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Between Two Shores: Courts, the Constitution and the Shariah

Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi

(2020) 32 SAcLJ 414

This article examines the occasional conflicts that occur in Malaysian courts between constitutional supremacy and the popular notion of the supremacy of Islam. It discusses the doctrine of constitutional primacy and the position of Islam and Shariah authorities under the Federal Constitution. It notes the wide gap between constitutional theory and judicial practice that has developed since the 1990s and surveys the civil courts’ attitude towards the validity of many controversial laws enacted in the name of the Shariah. Some recommendations to restore the 1957/1963 scheme of constitutional supremacy are also proposed.