BY UMSU PRESS
Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code (I) Enactment 2019
The Syariah Criminal Code (I) Enactment 2019 in Kelantan, which took effect on November 1, criminalises 24 additional offences. The statute prohibits sorcery, false prophethood, striving to renounce Islam, necrophilia, bestiality, tattooing, defying parents, gambling, under-weighing of products, and homosexual activities. Sultan Muhammad V, the Sultan of Kelantan, has agreed to the implementation of the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code (I) Enactment 2019 on November 1, 2019. Non-Muslims shall be exempt from Syariah law application. Christians and human rights organisations are disturbed by the ratification of new Sharia rules in Malaysia's Kelantan state, which include 24 new offences, including conversion from Islam to another faith. Christian and human rights organisations have expressed worry about the regulations. The new legislation was enacted in 2006 and is based on amendments to the Syariah Criminal Code (II) of 1993 as well as the previous Syariah Criminal Code of 1985. Sultan Muhammad V, agreed and signed the core rules into law in July of last year, placing them into effect. According to State Chief Minister Ahmad Yakob, the enactment permits Shariah courts to render verdicts in cases involving a specified list of offences, which he described as "a very extensive list." The maximum penalty is six caning strokes or three years in prison, with a fine of up to 5,000 ringgit (US$1202) or three years in prison as an option. The Syariah Criminal Code (I) Enactment 2019 is hoped to lead to the strengthening of Syariah law across Malaysia, not just in Kelantan. The enactment's implementation was aimed toward educating and reacquainting violators with Islam's straight path, rather than merely penalising them, as originally intended. Malaysian Muslims and non-Muslims would be unaffected by Islamic-related legislation, such as the hudud law (Islamic Penal Code). These changes are troublesome and potentially dangerous because they erode fundamental democratic ideas by restricting critical thought and expression.
Is the amendment legal under the Federal Constitution?
Malaysia's Federal Constitution provides for equal treatment before the law. Imposing a specific punishment on Muslims is, of course, a violation of the constitution. The amendment is successful in establishing a dual legal system. This would exacerbate the region's already existing divisions and divisiveness. Lawyers for Liberty's Executive Director raised alarm about a two-tiered criminal justice system. Without a fair and rational criminal justice system, as well as adequate legal counsel, such punitive penalties will disproportionately affect women and persons from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, increasing the likelihood of wrongful convictions and incarceration.
Will Malaysia Fully Implement Islamic Law?
Conversely, this political choice will affect Muslims as well as non-Muslims. A parallel legal system will pierce the country's diversity and social harmony, potentially escalating religious differences and conflicts in the process. National unity is at risk, and Malaysians, regardless of cultural and religious affiliation, must come together to consider the consequences of such a profoundly charged political decision on the country's social stability.
Sisters in Islam questions Kelantan Shariah enactment
SIS: Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code (I) Enactment 2019 contrary to inclusive, progressive and tolerant Islam Sisters in Islam (SIS), a women's rights NGO, has questioned the "restorative and retributive" aspect of the Kelantan Shariah Criminal Code (I) Enactment 2019, which was passed in 2019. The terms "restorative and retributive" and "aims to educate and bring criminals back to the true path of Islam, rather than simply punishing them" are both problematic and cause for severe worry. Instead of reflecting an inclusive, progressive, and tolerant Islam, it only serves to highlight the religion's reputation as a punitive religion. Only a small number of Muslims have the bravery to question, dispute, or even discuss religious subjects, especially when they are unsure. Furthermore, they consider these developments to be concerning and potentially dangerous because they violate fundamental democratic principles by suppressing critical thought and expression through arbitrary provisions and punishing those who do not toe the line with teachings that appear unjust and out of step with the times and circumstances. According to the group, the Federal Court's recent decision in the case of Iki Putra bin Mubarak v. Kerajaan Negeri Selangor & Anor established that Parliament has the authority to legislate on the criminalization of unnatural sex and that the state does not have the authority to enact such legislation. They are really concerned about these revisions because the amendments are not clearly described and simply identify 24 new clauses in the enactment, which they believe is extremely problematic.
Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code (I): Towards one family, two systems?
Kelantan's Syariah Criminal Code (I) Enactment 2019 contains various problematic revisions that could cause a chain reaction if other Islamic governments follow suit. According to the KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH), the new provisions came into effect on Nov 1 and will have a negative impact on the nation's growth as a multi-ethnic, multi-faith country. Weakened laws in the home, especially in the framework of ‘one family, two sets of laws', will not help our country's progress as a Keluarga Malaysia. We, as anak Malaysia, must struggle to preserve our nation's diversity. In light of the recent liquor ban and the Timah controversy, non-Muslims are concerned about the greater effect of a recent wave of hardline Islamisation. The Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) envisioned uniting the Peninsula with its Bornean counterparts Sabah and Sarawak. Joining them as the Federation of Malaysia will strengthen our legislative systems and protect them from imperialism and Islamisation. No one would feel at ease in Malaysia while the threat of Islamisation grows. Our forefathers' effort and tears towards building the nation will be seen going down the drain.
While these Syariah laws are currently only applicable to Kelantan, it is always a good idea to educate yourself on your own state laws. Familiarize ourselves with actions that we should avoid at all costs. Finally, laws are enacted for a cause.
Certain laws are enacted to emphasize the gravity of your acts and the fact that what you do will influence you for the rest of your life. Or, even worse, what if it has an adverse effect on the lives of others as well.
Written by Secretariat of Current Affairs 2021
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