Hudud? Paramount concern should be the whole nation


Recently many Muslims especially politicians, have expressed intrigue over the brouhaha among non-Muslims arising from the Private Member’s Bill, Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) (Amendment) 2016 tabled by PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang at the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday.

These politicians have claimed that the Private Member’s Bill has nothing to do with non-Muslims and so everyone should not making a big fuss over it.

The key concerns here are not about race or religion but about the legal and constitutional aspects of Syariah law.

If PAS’s Private Member’s Bill, Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) (Amendment) 2016 is allowed to be implemented, it will have serious implications on all Malaysians including non-Muslims. It will give rise to the inequality of laws and this is clearly disallowed by the Federal Constitution.

More importantly, the supreme law does not allow other legislation to encroach into the offences provided in the federal law i.e. Penal Code. Offences and punishment for rape, theft etc are already provided for in the Penal Code.

So the Bill that seeks to enlarge the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court i.e. Act 355 is actually a legislation to allow Hudud to be implemented through the back door.

A classic example – if the victim in a rape case is a non-Muslim and the rapist is a Muslim, which law applies? Vice-versa if the rapist is a Chinese and the victim Muslim, will there be justice?

The same goes for theft or robbery. Do we expect non-Muslim victims to lodge reports at the Islamic Affairs authorities and subsequently be subjected to the Syariah Court if the suspect is a Muslim? The non-Muslim victims cannot lodge reports at the police station as the latter would have no jurisdiction.

Another example is insurance laws that do not recognise hudud. This means that in personal injury claims in a road accident, the non-Muslim insured will not be covered if the other party is a Muslim and sues under the enactment.

Religious conversion, custody issues etc have already caused so much problems in the country


Interfaith custody dispute settled


I welcome the Federal Court’s decision on Indira Ghandi case, it affirms that only the civil court has jurisdiction over custody cases in a civil marriage, even if one party later converts to Islam.

That is to say, it is only when the syariah court pronounces Islamic divorce on an Islamic marriage, then it can make orders on custody. The Federal Constitution clearly spells out that the syariah court only has jurisdiction over Muslims.

As such, there interests of all parties are safeguarded and hopefully, this long-standing chapter of interfaith custody can now be closed.

The decision also meant that the controversial Article 121 (1A) of the Federal Constitution, which gives the impression that both the civil and syariah courts have equal but separate powers and seems to suggest both the courts’ orders are valid, is now settled.

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