This article begins with a section on historical developments affecting the application of sharia in Malaysia and limitations that were imposed on it in the Federal Constitution and other laws. [First section] provides background information on issuance of fatwas (rulings or verdicts) by the Mufti and Islamic Religious Councils, their scopes and binding force under the state enactment. This is followed in section 3, by a discussion of polygamy and restriciton that were imposed on it under IFL 1984 and then the relaxation of those restrictions through subsequent amendments in 1994. A similar pattern of discussion is presented in section 4 pertaining to divorce. Section 5 discusses the fatwa and recent legistlation that demands strict adherence to fatwas, making, for the first time in the Malaysian legal history, the violation of a fatwa into a punishable offence. Section 6 reviews the continuing impasse over the shariah Criminal Code of Kelatan, known as the Hudud Bill.The last two sections discuss specific cases over apostasy and participation in beauty pageants by Muslim girls.
Issues and Developments,” Yearbook of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law, Vol. 4 (1997-1998), London: Kluwer Law International, 1998, pp 153-180.