KUALA LUMPUR, June 5 — The Federal Constitution does not bar the incorporation of hudud into the Penal Code and subsequent application to all Malaysians, federal religious authorities argued in a working paper to implement the Islamic penal law.
In the document sighted by The Malay Mail Online, the paper by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), stated it was vital for all local laws to be harmonised with Islamic principles.
The paper cited as evidence Article 3(1) in the Constitution that states Islam as the religion of the federation and the Oath of office of Yang di-Pertuan Agong requiring the ruler to “protect the religion of Islam”.
“It is wrong to think that non-Muslims cannot be [subjected] to Shariah-based laws. How can citizens of a country that exalts Islam as religion of the state assume that it is their human rights to not be placed under the influence of Shariah laws?” said the proposal.
“This kind of thinking is the same as those who reject the nobility of the Constitution and the sovereignty of the laws,” it added, referring to two of the five Rukunegara, the Malaysian National Principles.
The report also cited a Federal Court ruling in 2006 declaring moral policing laws as valid to be enforced in Malaysia.
Chinese-language newspaper Oriental Daily reported on Monday that the proposal was presented at a meeting with Barisan Nasional Backbenchers’ Club last month.
However, both the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) and backbencher Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed have denied that such a briefing took place, when queried yesterday.
The report by a Jakim Shariah-Civil Technical Committee dated May 8, 2014 also proposed for hudud to be implemented in two stages, the first involving amendments of several federal and state laws.
It noted that the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 must first be amended to allow the courts to mete out unconventional punishments.
Currently, the Islamic court system cannot sentence offenders to more than three years in jail or fine them more than RM5,000. It also cannot sentence offenders to be whipped more than six times.
Following that, each state’s Shariah criminal offences enactments can be amended to prescribe hudud punishments for four offences: zina (illicit sex), alcohol consumption, apostasy and making unproven accusations against zina.
The report claimed that hudud punishments for these crimes will only be implemented against Muslims.
According to the report, other hudud and qisas crimes such as theft, highway robbery, murder and causing physical harm were not included as the crimes are already covered under the Penal Code.
Heavier punishments for the latter crimes cannot yet be implemented as Malaysia is currently under local and international scrutiny for its human rights record, it said.
The second stage will include education and promotion of the hudud implementation. This is where non-Muslims are expected to respect the sovereignty of Islam as the religion of the federation and the implementation of any Shariah laws which also apply to them.
“As a show of loyalty and obedience to the country, any form of abetting and encouraging Muslims towards vice or violation of the Shariah laws must be avoided,” said the document.
A Jakim official declined to comment when asked to verify the authenticity of the report.
The hudud controversy is again at the fore after PAS insisted that it wants to enforce the law in Kelantan.
Last month, PAS said it will delay tabling two private members’ bills needed to pave way for the enforcement of hudud in Kelantan, to allow a proposed bi-partisan committee to study the implementation of the Islamic penal code.
This comes as Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin — also the Umno deputy president — said his party will push for a national-level committee on hudud.
Muhyiddin had said both local and foreign experts on hudud would sit in the proposed committee. The specifics of the committee are not yet known.