This morning I was labelled a ‘Malay supremacist‘ by two non-Malays on Twitter for presenting my views on the Syariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Bill to be proposed by PAS President Haji Hadi Awang. They claim that I was trying to push my idea to them but at the same time ignore the fact that they were pushing their views to me for me to accept.
Then, I saw this on The Star and cannot believe my eyes that this is being said by our very own lawmakers!
Imagine our lawmakers, all born before Malaysia was formed, do not know that the two legal systems have been in place even before 31 August 1957, and was adopted into the Federal Constitution of 16 September 1963 when it was accepted by both North Borneo and Sarawak that entered a Federation with the other states of Malaya to form Malaysia. The Federal Constitution even says that the Attorney-General does not have any jurisdiction over Syariah matters – clearly drawing the line between the two systems.
I have written at length on this matter prior to this. Please refer to the following:
The fear came about when Kelantan state assembly passed its Syariah Offences (II) Enactment last year that includes crimes of theft, fornication and so on prescribing the amputation of limbs, stoning et cetera. Since the punishments prescribed are ultra vires in nature, Hadi Awang sought for the amendments to the Syariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act, 1965 (Act 355), dubbed by the uninformed as the Hadi Bill or Hudud Bill.
Citing the Bill as unconstitutional, the ill-informed began to attack the Bill at its earliest stage; while the Opposition uses it to mount attacks on UMNO for supporting the proposal to be tabled in Parliament, conveniently forgetting that the Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the land.
What Can Hadi Propose?
The following is the list of items that Hadi can seek amendments to:
Only the ones in red (Enabled) are the ones Hadi Awang could hope to propose in his Private Bill.
Does The Bill Affect Non-Muslims?
Like I mentioned, the two legal systems have co-existed in Malaysia since the formation of Malaysia. Let us see Section 2 of the Act:
And did Hadi Awang seek to include the non-Muslims in his amendments?
So, no. Whatever you say or think, this law DOES NOT APPLY TO NON-MUSLIMS!
THIS LAW WILL PROMOTE DOUBLE JEOPARDY AND IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL
Have you no brain?
Hadi Awang merely seeks to increase the penalties, not expand the jurisdiction of the Syariah court! As per the table above, all offences covered by either the Penal Code or by any other law that was made under the ambit of the Federal Constitution cannot be charged under the Syariah law.
So how can there be double jeopardy? Murder, robbery, rape, sodomy, are all offences under the Penal Code of Malaysia. You cannot charge these offences under the Syariah law.
How Is The Process Now? What Does Hadi Awang Have To Do?
Any Member of Parliament not representing the ruling government who wants to table a Private Bill will have to apply to the August House for leave to do so. At the same time the said MP is to submit the Bill with an explanatory statement of reasons and objectives of the Bill.
Every such application will have to be in the form of a motion. Only when the House agrees with the motion will the Bill to have been deemed as being read for the first time.
After the first reading the Bill will then be printed and circulated to all members and the Minister in-charge of the subject of the Bill for scrutiny. Only when the Minister in-charge is done with the Bill will it then be reported to the House. After this report is made, the Bill shall be set down for second reading.
There are more stages and hurdles for the Bill to have to go through before it finally makes it as an approved Act, or thrown into the bin.
We are now still at the first stage – the application.
What Else Does The Federal Constitution Say About Each Other’s Religion?
We have Article 11(3)(a) in our Constitution which states:
Every religious group has the right to manage its own affairs
By intruding, isn’t this right given also to the Muslims in Malaysia being denied by the non-Muslims? Remember, Islam is the religion of the Federation and others are given the rights to practice theirs in peace and harmony.
So, why intrude into our affairs?