V Anbalagan | November 25, 2016
Surendra Ananth says Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's assurance to the public that the bill is not about hudud, but only to empower the shariah courts, is misleading.
PETALING JAYA: Marang MP Abdul Hadi Awang’s proposal to allow shariah courts to impose punitive punishments on Muslims can still pave the way for the introduction of hudud, a lawyer said.
Surendra Ananth said three offences, qazaf, al-lian (for husband) and syurb could be implemented in all states.
He said Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s assurance to the public that the bill was not about hudud but only to empower the shariah courts, was misleading.
“This is a big misconception. The said bill will pave way for the enforcement of hudud,” he said in a commentary on the proposed legislation.
Surendra, who is also deputy co-chairperson of the Malaysian Bar constitutional law committee, said this matter needed clarification as a number of MPs were making statements that the bill was not about hudud.
Yesterday, Hadi deferred debate on his private member’s bill to empower the shariah courts to mete out sentences up to 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 fine, and 100 strokes of the cane.
Currently, shariah criminal punishment is capped at three years’ prison term, RM5,000 fine, and six stokes of the cane.
Surendra said the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code II 1993 (as amended in 2015) provided for eight hudud offences and three of those could be implemented if the maximum punishment sought was approved by Parliament.
He said the offence of Qazaf (false accusation of adultery) and Al-li’an (false accusation of adultery by husband, on oath, against his wife) carried a punishment of 80 lashes.
Those found guilty of Syurb (consumption of liquor or intoxicating drinks) could be whipped a minimum of 40 times and a maximum of 80 times.
Surendra said one need not specifically label the bill, but it was hudud as long it provided for such punishment.
He said state legislative assemblies could create any Islamic offence within item 1 of the state list, as long as the punishment for the said offences was within the limit set by Parliament.
Surendra said the implications of the bill was clear that the amended law would affect every state and was also against the basic structure of the constitution.
He said if the shariah courts were given powers (even wider than the civil courts for caning), it would upset the deference given to Parliament on matters of criminal law.
He said civil courts were superior while shariah courts were specialist courts, but confined to the state.
~ Free Malaysia Today