‘Compulsory’ for Muslims to support Shariah amendments, AGC Shariah adviser says


(MMO) – Muslims are obliged to support the proposed amendments to Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, Shariah adviser to the Attorney-General’s Chamber Tan Sri Sheikh Ghazali Abdul Rahman said.

He asserted that the proposal to impose harsher penalties on Muslims is not new as discussions have been held for decades, Malay daily Berita Harian reported today.

“It is compulsory for Muslims to support the Shariah Court amendments that it be widened for punishments of adultery, qazaf (making false accusation of zina or illicit sex), consuming alcohol and apostasy involving Muslims.

“These amendments were a long time coming together with the late Prof Ahmad Ibrahim,” he was quoted as saying.

He added that the proposal for stiffer punishments was not because there have been increases in the number of adultery, homosexuality, alcohol consumption or apostasy cases, but was only to ensure the punishments meted match the offences committed.

Shariah court punishments are currently limited to jail terms not exceeding three years, or whipping of not more than six strokes, or fines of not more than RM5,000.

The Bill, tabled for the first reading in the Dewan Rakyat last Thursday by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, seeks to empower Shariah courts to enforce punishments ― except for the death penalty ― provided in Shariah laws for Islamic offences listed under state jurisdiction in the Federal Constitution, without elaborating on the nature of the punishments.

The controversial Bill has split MPs on both sides of the political divide along Muslim and non-Muslim lines.

At least two ministers have said they will resign if the Bill is passed while other lawmakers from the ruling Barisan Nasional has warned that East Malaysia may seek separation from the peninsula.