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“Constitutional Experts” do Read the Constitution Differently!

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It was said that a ‘legal and constitutional expert” had expressed his views on the proposed amendment to Act 355 (often regarded as proposal to implement Hudud Laws) as follows:… (i) “any of the offences under the proposed amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act355) must be related not included in the Federal List – including murder, rape, robbery and theft”; and (ii)  “the proposed amendments should be made applicable only to Muslims. But if two criminals in Kelantan, one  a Muslim and the other not, are caught for stealing, the non-Muslim will tried under the Penal Code.  The Muslim will face the music in Syariah Court and may be liable to amputation (of the limb).”  Emeritus Prof. Datuk Dr. Shad Faruqi said that in a Forum themed,  “How Much Do You Know About Hudud” attended by YB Tan Sri Razaleigh Hamzah (The Star, 13 Feb 2017).

And I just gasped: Wow! I was dumbfounded and amazed – Shad Faruqi said that? Not believing the lines on the actual newspaper, I quickly opened the online version hoping to read a different story altogether.  Its him, alright and he said just exactly that….. unless The Star journalist wrongly reported the news. If that’s the case his would be an easy case of being wrongly quoted or misinterpreted.

Many of us were his students during the late 70s and early 80s. As time passes we parted on different journeys and branched out into various professions. Nevertheless, reading today’s The Star appalled me with those remarks.

My comments are very simple and straight forward. We are in a tight situation where we have a Federal Constitution (which is not fully “Syariah Compliance” in nature) and that we have separate limited “parts of syariah laws” permitted under the Federal Constitution to govern and applicable ONLY to the Muslims. Amendments to Act 355  is a window to enhance punishments to existing provisions under various wrong-doings and acts that contradict syariah as provided under Act 355. Recent comments to the proposal including from Prof. Shad  that it “would create separate rulings to Malaysians if amendments to Act 355 is approved” to me, is just such a lame excuse, what more to be commented by a so-called “legal expert” with an Emeritus Law Professorship. How could Shad had misread the proposal in such a manner? Okay….we are not perfect and humans make mistakes, I can accept that. But by him presenting it in such a seminar at the height of the debate – he deliberately did it with clear intentions…..

Act 355 was approved since 1965, amended in 1984: you mean to say since those years you do not realized that we have been practicing two sets of laws in Malaysia? Again, when the Federal Constitution of 1948 was established that became part of the 1957 Federal Constitution, segments of Islamic Laws were already incorporated within the States’  Statutes as allowed under the Federal Constitution. Even the British Administration and Lord Reid allowed that!

Come on, wake up! Historical facts proved that Islamic Laws like Kanun Melaka, Undang-Undang 99 Perak, Islamic Laws in Kelantan and Terengganu had existed almost 1000 years ago, way before the Dutch, Portuguese and British ever landed their feet on Malaysian soil! Then, based on the same arguments from these dissenting voices that wants a SINGLE LAW to be practiced by all citizens of Malaysia in uniformity …..we have to wait for a very long time to revamp the Federal Constitution and make it “fully Islamic” (if we ALL agreed to go for that) that covers all believers of different faiths and background – are we really ready for that….now?

That is why an amendment to Act 355 is badly needed to facilitate, initiate and open a window towards enhancing and strengthening the Syariah Courts with parts of the syariah laws by  implementing it, step by step,  within the framework of the present Federal Constitution. As a start, this amendment would not affect the non-Muslims and it does not cover all offences under the Federal list which is bounded under the existing Civil Law of the State. I don’t think that’s so difficult to understand unless those dissenting voices have their own hidden agenda which they are not ready to expose and defend!

*M. Izzuddin is a Former ITM Student and a menara.my reader

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