Now everybody can have their own ‘hudud’ bill
From the word go, the social media – especially on the opposition front – went ballistic and became ‘obsessed’ (as zombies do) with the private member’s bill initiated by PAS president Ustaz Hadi Awang.
Popularly known as ‘RUU 355’, Hadi’s bill proposed several enhancements with respect to the jurisdiction of the Syariah Courts.
The bill itself is the culmination of a long-awaited desire by Muslims in Malaysia to see an increase in the punishment for certain Syariah offences outside the parameters of the Penal Code.
It is applicable to Muslims only — a fact not lost even on the non-Muslims.
Prior to its first amendment in 1988, the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 prescribed punishments of jail term not exceeding six months and fine of not more than RM1,000.
It was amended in 1984 and reviewed in 1988 when the punishments were enhanced to a maximum of imprisonment not exceeding three years, fine of not more than RM5,000 or caning not exceeding six strokes of the rotan.
Twenty-eight years stretch between 1988 and 2016.
There were no objections, rejections or ferocious ‘attacks’ from the non-Muslims during that period such as we are witnessing today, and with the addition of outcry and opposition from a minority group of Muslim politicians.