Che Omar bin Che Soh v. Public Prosecutor: The Status of Sharia in the Malaysian Constitution

The Malaysian Supreme Court case of Che Omar bin Che Soh v. Public Prosecutor arose as an appeal of the mandatory death sentences issued to three men sentenced for either drug or firearms crimes under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 or the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971, respectively. In their appeal, the men argued that their mandatory death sentences were unislamic and therefore unconstitutional under Article 3 of the Malaysian constitution which established Islam as the official religion of Malaysia. Following an analysis of the constitution’s text and the historical context in which the constitution was written, the Supreme Court found that its framers could not have intended Article 3 to mean that all laws contrary to Islam would be void. Thus, the Court rejected the appellants' argument.


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