KUALA LUMPUR, March 3 — An interfaith group has urged lawmakers to oppose PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s proposed Bill to enhance Shariah punishments when it is tabled in the upcoming Parliament meeting.
The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) stressed that the Federal Constitution was secular, pointing out that Malaysia’s first three prime ministers stated that the country was a secular one.
“As the Bill will have far-reaching consequences for the nation, the MCCBCHST feels duty bound to challenge our elected representatives in Parliament to do their duty as required by their solemn oath to preserve and protect the Federal Constitution which embodies the secular status of our country,” MCCBCHST said in a statement today.
“The MCCBCHST has consistently maintained that there is no necessity of implementing Hudud in a multiracial and multireligious society like Malaysia,” it added, referring to the Islamic penal code.
Hadi’s private member’s Bill to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, informally known as RUU355, has been listed on the Dewan Rakyat’s Order Paper for Tuesday.
Last November 24, Hadi read out a motion to amend his Bill by inserting the punishment caps of 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 fine, and 100 lashes. Shariah courts’ sentencing powers are currently limited to three years’ jail, RM5,000 fine and six lashes.