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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hudud Bill for all, including Sabah and Sarawak, says PAS

KUALA LUMPUR - Kelantan Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah has revealed that the true intention of PAS’s Shariah Bill is not simply to enhance the punitive powers of the east coast state’s Islamic courts but to ensure the same for all states nationwide.

He explained that the Bill tabled recently in Parliament by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang seeks to elevate and streamline the powers of the country’s entire Shariah justice system.

“The private member's Bill is to elevate the jurisdiction of the Shariah courts in the whole of Malaysia.

“It is to control the Shariah courts, not just for Kelantan but for the whole country, that is the plan,” he told Malay Mail Online.

The Kelantan deputy mentri besar was responding to Umno minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz, who recently said that his party decided to support PAS's Bill as the Kelantan government was witnessing a rise in religious offences in the state.

Mohd Amar, however, said he could not understand what inspired such a comment from the veteran Umno lawmaker.

“Despite being a lawyer and former law minister, I don't understand why Nazri is trying make such a link.

“I don't think he understands what the Bill is for,” he said.

When contacted, Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yaakob echoed Mohd Amar's views, saying that there was no link between the alleged rise of religious offences in the state and PAS's proposal to enhance the Shariah courts’ powers.

“It’s a coincidence, no link. It does not matter what everyone else thinks, we are abiding by Allah's will,” he told Malay Mail Online, referring to his party.

In an interview with Singapore broadcaster Channel News Asia last week, Nazri had also claimed that existing punishments in the Shariah justice system were not severe enough to deter Muslims from committing offences in Kelantan.

Shariah court punishments are currently limited to jail terms not exceeding three years, or whipping of not more than six strokes, or fines of not more than RM5,000.

Hadi’s Bill seeks to amend the Syariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 to lift these restrictions and allow the courts to impose harsher sentences as provided for under Shariah laws, except for the death penalty.

If approved, the amendments would allow the Shariah courts in state jurisdictions such as Kelantan and Terengganu, both of which have state laws on hudud, to enforce the strict Islamic penal code.

Opponents of the Bill have sounded warning bells over the implementation of hudud in the country but Umno and PAS leaders, however, have denied this intention, maintaining that the amendments would only enhance the powers of the Shariah courts and not result in hudud.

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