Non-Muslims should not fear PAS’ Shariah Bill as it does not concern them, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.
The deputy prime minister also assured Muslims that the proposed amendments to the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 are being done for their own good.
“This Bill is not about Hudud. We want to empower Shariah courts. Is it wrong for us to empower Shariah courts?
“Are the laws under the Shariah court encroaching other religion(s)? No,” the home minister said in his speech.
Zahid said yesterday that PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang will table for a second time a tweaked version of his initial proposed amendments to the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act in Parliament either today or tomorrow.
He explained today that the punishments meted out under current Shariah laws do not do much to deter repeated criminals, adding this was why the amendments were crucial.
“For Shariah offences, the fine is RM300. Go to the market and that money will be gone in a moment.
“The one who committed crimes will say they can continue committing offences for second and third times because the fine is too small. We raise it to higher amount then — RM3,000, RM30,000,” he added.
Likewise, Zahid said that the jail term stipulated under Shariah laws would also be increased as deterrence.
He also demanded that non-Muslims respect Islamic laws and refrain from opposing the Bill before fully comprehending its contents.
“Why must non-Muslims be afraid? This is for Muslims. It’s not that we want to antagonise or oppose our other friends, but please respect. This is Islamic laws for Muslims.
“If you don’t understand, we can discuss, we will explain it, but don’t oppose before you understand,” he added.
Zahid said that the caning punishment meted out under Islamic laws was also not punitive in nature, but merely to “teach a lesson”.
The current limit for Shariah punishments are a fine of RM5,000, a jail term of three years and six strokes of rotan.
According to PAS lawmaker Datuk Khairuddin Aman Razali, Hadi’s amended private member’s Bill would stipulate a raise of the maximum sentences that Shariah courts may impose to 30 years’ prison, fines of up to RM100,000, and no more than 100 strokes of the cane.
Hadi tabled his private member’s Bill for the first time in the last Parliament meeting seeking to improve the Shariah courts and pave way for hudud implementation in Kelantan.
PAS is seeking to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, also known as Act 355, to empower Islamic courts to enforce any punishment ― except for the death penalty ― provided in Shariah laws for Islamic offences listed under state jurisdiction in the Federal Constitution.
Hadi has repeatedly denied that his Bill was an attempt to sneak in hudud, insisting that it was only to strengthen the Shariah courts.
Source : YISWAREE PALANSAMY@The Malay Mail Online