Siti Kasim warns that if the Shariah Courts Criminal Jurisdiction (Act 355) is passed in Parliament, it will be a point of no return for the country.
Dismissing claims by PAS that the amendments were only to help elevate the powers of the Shariah Court, the controversial lawyer-cum-activist said there would be no telling how far it would go, TheSun reported today.
“If the amendment goes through, it is a law according to their interpretation, not God’s law.
“Once it is in, it is never going to be easy to take it out again. Also, for now they will say it is for Muslims but who is going to stop them eventually?
“And once it is allowed, what will stop them? That is why I say people must be given a choice to be governed either by civil or Islamic law,” Siti told the daily.
She also spoke about her efforts with four others to file a suit in June last year, seeking to declare that if the amendments to shariah laws were be approved, then they would be unlawful, invalid and in contradiction with various Articles of the Federal Constitution, which among others, guaranteed liberty and equality of citizens and protection against retrospective criminal laws.
Siti represented the group, comprising Mansoor Saat, Azira Aziz, Hasbeemaputra Abu Bakar and Hazwany Jamaluddin, in court.
“Although we knew our chances were minimal because of the privilege in Parliament, we wanted to make a point – to say that there are Malay-Muslims who do not agree with the proposed law.
“If people choose to be governed by Islamic law then it is their right, but don’t force it on everyone. I want to see who will choose to be governed under hudud.
“In fact the first draft tabled in Parliament did not remove the word ‘death’. Only after we sued saying that it was unconstitutional, was it amended and the word ‘death’ was removed,” Siti was quoted as saying by the daily.
The suit was struck out on Nov 9, as the court ruled that PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang had carried out an action as a member of Parliament according to rules based on the Standing Order and Parliamentary Privilege Act.
Referring to Terengganu and Kelantan, Siti said there were already provisions in both states’ shariah laws which were in violation of the Federal Constitution, so what more the amendments to allow for hudud to be passed.
“Are we an Islamic state? Being born as a Malay and Muslim in this country would be like a third class citizen, you have no rights … you cannot be yourself even though you are not hurting anyone,” she told TheSun.
FMT Reporters Online