An activist lawyer has warned that PAS’ private member’s Bill that seeks to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355), may confer shariah courts with “unlimited power” to impose other hudud punishments under its new Section 2A.
In her Facebook posting last night, Siti Kasim said the Bill, via the introduction of a new Section 2A in Act 355, sought to remove the restriction on the range of punishments that shariah courts could impose, which were currently limited to three years’ jail, whipping not exceeding six strokes and fines below RM5,000.
She said although death sentences could not be imposed under the new Section 2A, the amendment appeared to confer shariah courts with “unlimited power” to impose other hudud punishments.
“Hudud offences include offences like zina (adultery), qazaf (false accusation of committing zina), syrub(alcohol consumption) and irtidad or riddah (apostasy) and according to the Kelantan Shariah Criminal Code (II) (1993) 2015 Enactment, punishment for these is whipping, ranging from 40 to 100 lashes.
“The Bill also seeks to substitute the existing Section 2 in Act 355 with a new section that appears to widen the scope of the Shariah Court’s existing criminal jurisdiction, which is currently limited to offences by Muslims against Islam,” Siti said.
She accused PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan, one of the speakers at the forum about the Bill that sought to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355), of misleading the audience in terms of the law.
“The speakers from PAS and Umno insisted it is not a HUDUD bill. Of course it is not a HUDUD Bill but it has everything to do with HUDUD. Without this amendment to the limit of punishment in the Shariah Courts, they wouldn’t be able to mete out the punishment already stated in their HUDUD ENACTMENT.”
Siti Kasim said: As pointed out by the rep from MCA, in which it was conveniently not answered, that JAKIM’s intention in a proposal by them was to implement HUDUD to the whole country and they are going to start with the amendment to Act 355. So, there it is… their first round of plan is in operation.”
MMO reported that the Islamist party insisted the Bill only aimed to give the shariah courts stronger punitive powers to offences listed under Act 355, while Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom reportedly said last month there was a need to strengthen the Islamic courts as most of the fines and jail sentences have purportedly failed to deter offenders.
Ivy Chang ; email@example.com