Syariah Court engagement will include Perikatan representatives, says Religious Minister

KUALA LUMPUR: An engagement process to empower syariah courts will include Perikatan Nasional members and the public, says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Dr Mohd Na’im Mokhtar.

He said that the recently-begun engagement process seeks to get as many views as possible on the matter, adding that it comes after the Federal Court decision of Feb 9 ruling that 16 provisions in the Kelantan Syariah Enactment are unconstitutional.

ALSO READ: Syariah Courts Act Amendment Bill (RUU355) likely to be tabled this year, says Mohd Na’im

“Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (Yadim) has started seminars for the public on the matter led by constitution expert Dr Mohd Farid Mohd Shahran,” said Mohd Na’im

“We had also invited the Kelantan Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Mohamed Fadzli Hassan on Saturday (Feb 17) to our seminar but he could not make it,” he added on Sunday (Feb 18).

Mohd Na’im said this at a media conference after witnessing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim officiating the one-day Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) Carnival held at Tasik Titiwangsa here in conjunction with its golden jubilee this year.

ALSO READ: Everyone to empower Syariah courts regardless of political affiliation, says Anwar

The MAIWP Carnival showcases over 100 stalls, and is open to the public.

He added that all constructive views will be presented to the committee of Special Committee to Review the Competency of the State Legislative Assemblies (DUN) to Enact Islamic Laws under Tun Zaki Tun Azmi to be analysed.

“I was informed by Tun Zaki that the whole engagement process would be able to be completed within eight months,” said Mohd Na’im.

ALSO READ: Syariah Courts’ position guaranteed by Constitution, says Mohd Na’im

He also said that the engagement on the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355) is still ongoing and will be presented to the Cabinet again before a decision is made.

RUU355 was previously tabled by PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang as a Private Members Bill for its first reading on May 26, 2016.

The Bill sought to increase the maximum punishment in the Syariah Court to 30 years’ jail, fines of up to RM100,000 and 100 strokes of the cane.

The present punishment for Syariah offenders is capped at three years’ jail, RM5,000 fine and six strokes of the cane.

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