Syariah Criminal Code (I): Towards one family, two systems?

The judicial amendments carried out by the Kelantan state government will not contribute to the development of our country as a Malaysian family


The newly enforced Kelantan’s Syariah Criminal Code (I) Enactment 2019 contained several questionable amendments which have the potential to trigger a domino effect if emulated by the Islamic authorities of other states.

In fact, the new provisions which came into effect on 1 November were of concern to society as they will have an unhealthy effect not only on policymaking in a secular Malaysia formed in 1963 but also on the nation’s development as a multi-ethnic, multi-faith country, according to the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH).

“The judicial amendments carried out by the Kelantan state government will not contribute to the development of our country as a Keluarga Malaysia [Malaysian family]; if a member of the family feels the tightening of laws in the house – especially in the context of  ‘one family, two sets of laws’ – it will not make for a happy home,” KLSCAH pointed out.

“As anak [children of] Malaysia, we must fight to nurture and maintain our nation’s diversity.”

Although the Syariah Criminal Code (I) stated that it only applies to Muslims in Kelantan, the larger effect of a recent wave of conservative Islamisation is of concern to non-Muslims given the recent ban on liquor sales and the Timah issue, KLSCAH claimed.

On 1 November, Sultan Muhammad V consented to the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code (I) Enactment 2019 to come into force. Under the enactment, Sharia courts will have the power to hear cases for which the punishments include a jail term of not more than three years and a fine or six strokes of the cane.

READ MORE:  Why the need for a new law for non-Muslim religions?

“It is hoped that the enforcement of the Syariah Criminal Code (I) Enactment 2019 will be beneficial in strengthening the syariah law, not only in Kelantan but also in other states in Malaysia,” Menteri Besar Ahmad Yakob told a briefing programme on the enactment on 31 October.

He added the enforcement of the enactment was aimed at educating and bringing the offenders back to the right path of Islam, not just merely punishing them.

The KLSCAH further pointed to how the original Malaysia Agreement 1963 documented the dream to unite the peninsula with its historically significant Borneo counterparts – Sabah and Sarawak.

“To unite with them as the Federation of Malaysia will ensure that our legislative systems will be strengthened – and safeguarded – from both colonisation and Islamisation,” the assembly hall noted.

“As the increased fear of Islamisation continues to creep further into the country, none of us will rightly feel at home in Malaysia. All our forefathers, namely Tunku Abdul Rahman, will have their sweat and tears – towards building the nation – be seen going down the proverbial longkang (drain).” – KLSCAH

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