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RUU355: Don’t worry non-Muslim friends, it has got nothing to do with you — Wan Md. Hazlin Agyl


FEB 26 — PAS has invited all Muslims to be a part of this program and to put political ideologies aside to support this cause. As a Muslim, of course Alumni Kelab-kelab UMNO Luar Negara (AKULN) will participate but we believe there is a better way to make non-Muslims to understand RUU355. RUU355 is an Act that governs Syariah Law which is only applicable to Muslims. That is the simplest way for everyone to understand.

This Act legislated in 1965. – at this time the Syariah Court “shall not be exercised in respect of any offence punishable with imprisonment for a term exceeding six months or with any fine exceeding one thousand dollars or with both.”. That was the limit of the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court. In brief: 6 months imprisonment, RM1,000 fine or both.

The first amendment to this Act was done in 1984 and at that time all Barisan Nasional’s component parties voted for it without any opposition to it. During this time the amendment was for the Syariah Court and its jurisdiction “shall not be exercised in respect of any offence punishable with imprisonment for a term exceeding three years or with any fine exceeding five thousand or with whipping exceeding six strokes or with any combination thereof.” So, the limit was increased to three years imprisonment, a fine of RM5000, six strokes or any combination of it. This is in keeping with the changing socio-economic climate at the time.

Looking at these two events that occurred in 1965 and 1984, there were no issues on amending the RUU355. Most of us did not know about it and in actual fact Non-Muslims were nonpartisan to it, as they will not be affected by it. We must remember that the Syariah Law only governs Muslims and still allows any religion to be freely practiced in this country. In layman terms, as long as you are not Muslim, this law will not bother you at all.

The world is constantly changing and as we stand at the present moment, undeniably we acknowledge that the world we live in has evolved. Climate, world politics and socio-economics standards have shifted focus and our nation has adapted accordingly. As a result of change, inevitably rules regulations need to adapt to it. Some laws that secured the nation before might not even be significant on the backdrop of current world events. To adapt and attain relevance, amendments are a must. That is the reason why we need to amend the RUU355. The same reason we amended it back in 1984. Things change and we simply need to adapt.

AKULN hopes that all political parties will not politicize this matter for any agenda whether personal or political. It is not a noble way to gain mileage.

Interestingly enough, when a proposal was made to amend RUU355 (a mere proposal, not discussed or documented yet), a few parties started to become restless. Restless to a point that they started narrating a story of disunion. Several politicians started to sing a “beautiful” song to gain popularity and to be seen playing national issues. But, my friends it is not a national issue. This is purely a religion issue so why does DAP for example is so against it? The situation that they are creating is purely of a provocative nature whereby simple legal matters about religion have been politicized for popularity. Islam is the federal religion of Malaysia and the amendment of RUU355 is an Islamic matter. No other religion will be affected with this amendment. That’s the fact.  AKULN is in full support for the RUU355 and against those who are opposing it. This is a very straightforward matter and politicians for example must be clear on the difference between civil and syariah law.

I would like to suggest for the political leaders especially DAP to really understand the need and importance of RUU355 and how it actually is not related to non-Muslims at all. Islam is beautiful and I believe others feel the same too with regards to their own belief and religion. The RUU355 amendment is an Islamic requirement and Muslims must have significant regulations. The present Act is not recent will need to be improved to cater for change. Muslims should not be afraid of this amendment. No Muslim will live a difficult life with this amendment as long as they remain good Muslims. As for non-Muslims, you will continually be governed by civil law.

If DAP is afraid (not trying to become popular), let me reiterate that RUU355 is not for non- Muslim. A records check will definitely show absolutely no non-Muslim has ever been charged under RUU355. If DAP is still afraid. Let me give a solution to DAP where even after the parliament has approved the amendment, Syariah Court still falls under State’s jurisdiction. Therefore, DAP-led State Government has the prerogative not to apply the jurisdictional amendment if they want to. The other solution is to really understand the RUU355 that it has got nothing to do with Non-Muslim. Let’s have a session to discuss and allow us to explain further to you on why you shouldn’t go against it. In fact you should support this bill for a good cause.

So my fellow non-Muslim Malaysians, are we going to let these politicians play with our emotions and create tension between us? I have many Indian and Chinese friends who understand the issue. Do not let opportunistic politicians spoil our unity. We shouldn’t allow irresponsible individuals to manipulate religion where in actual fact, it has got nothing to do with them. Lets us all respect each other’s belief and religion, we have been successfully doing that ever since Merdeka and lets continue doing it.

*This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.

The Malay Mail Online