The Kuala Lumpur Syariah High Court has granted a stay application to Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib, who was ordered to pay his former wife Shahnaz A Majid RM30 million as mutaah, pending the decision of the Syariah Court of Appeal.
Judge Muhamad Abdul Karim Wahab said the court found it reasonable to grant the stay application, based on the applicant’s concerns that that the sum is too high and therefore he must first apply for loans to pay the amount.
“The applicant is also worried that the defendant will spend the amount before the result of the appeal, which would then put him at the losing end.
“That reason is reasonable and should be considered as it is hard to secure the money back if it is already spent," Justice Abdul Karim said.
“After reviewing the application, supporting affidavits and written arguments, the court therefore grants the stay application pending the appeal decision by the Syariah Court of Appeal,” he said.
Meanwhile, the judge reprimanded Shahnaz for stating that she planned to donate one-third of her mutaah to orphanages and single mothers’ organisations, which was widely reported in the media.
“I want to reprimand quarters who do not think long about making certain statements. For example, the respondent who said that the mutaah will be donated. Such statements seem to insult my decision, as though the court had no other choice in making a decision.
“This will open space to perceptions by the public and will bring elements of trial by the media. This should not have occurred and this could turn the case prejudicial and will lead to sub judice,” he said.
Although he admitted the media’s role in enlightening the society, Abdul Karim said Shahnaz’s lawyers should have been more “wise and realistic” in giving their advise to their client to ensure that her statements were not prejudicial to the judiciary.
He also admonished Shahnaz’s lawyers who had referred to other civil cases in the case.
“As experienced lawyers, you should be wise and take into account the court’s sensitivities.
“It’s not that we want to prevent you from referring to civil cases, but because this case is heard at the syariah court, syariah cases should have been prioritised,” he said.
Bekir’s side was also not spared from getting an earful from the judge.
Justice Abdul Karim refuted claims that the mutaah to be paid was as though 300 times more than the usual amount decided upon.
“I want to stress here, the court is not in a type of cocoon, we have to get out from the cocoon.
“If RM1 million is high (and the decision) was RM30 million, it is only 30 times more and not 300 times more. The court does not like for such cases to be considered as something that ‘a judge must follow’,” he stressed.
Shahnaz and Bekir were married in 1992 and the 53-year-olds were officially divorced on May 11, 2011.
Judge Abdul Karim had, on March 10, decided there was a valid claim made by Shahnaz and ordered her former husband to pay her RM30 million as mutaah.