He said this was further strengthened with the amendment to Article 121(1) of the State Constitution in 1988 which made the Syariah Court a stronger entity.
Inadvertently, he said the amendment also enhanced the State's power where Religious Enforcement Agency is concerned.
"It has made the Syariah Court on par with the Civil Court in terms of power where it could stand on its own and its decisions could not be revoked or changed by other courts," he said when opening the National Convention on Enforcement and Prosecution of Syariah Laws at Kompleks Tabung Haji, here, Monday.
Also present were Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan, Sabah Commissioner of Police Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim, Deputy Commissioner of Police Datuk Ab Razak Ab Ghani and Deputy State Secretary Datuk Maznah Ghani.
Nevertheless, Musa, who is also State Finance Minister, said the issue now "is how to implement the Syariah laws to make it more effective in running society."
He said despite the Government having approved and enforced the Syariah laws for Syariah-related criminal offences, "the Government does not intend to make the (Syariah) laws as a mechanism to educate and punish Muslims who had broken the laws."
Punishment, education and evangelising, he said, works in tandem so that those involved become law-abiding citizens.
In enforcing the laws, he said enforcement agency must be firm and at the same time full of integrity.
"What's important is that the enforcement is not being looked down by society." He said the enforcement should be seen as "friends" by society so as to ensure they have more organised and peaceful lives.
Musa said Islamic laws had been practised in Sabah even before it had achieved independence.