Ezra Zaid’s Shariah trial over book to start Feb 22

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — The Shariah court today decided that Mohd Ezra Mohd Zaid’s trial over a book will proceed on February 22 despite a pending civil court case challenging his Shariah prosecution.

Zulkifli Che Yong, the lawyer for Ezra in the Shariah case, confirmed that there was a hearing today for his client’s application to stay the Shariah trial until the conclusion of a separate case at the civil courts.

“The court fixed for trial 22 February,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.

On March 7, 2013, Ezra was charged as ZI Publications’ director and majority shareholder under Section 16(1)(a) of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Selangor) Enactment 1995 with two alternative counts of publishing and distributing the Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta book, as well as a third alternative count under Section 16(1)(b) for possession of 180 copies of the book. Read more

Putrajaya not getting soft on drugs, minister says

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — Putrajaya’s bid to remove the mandatory death penalty for drug convictions does not mean the administration is becoming lenient towards narcotics abuse, said Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department who tabled the amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act today said the move was simply to allow the courts the discretion to decide on the maximum penalty for offences under the law.

She also noted that the proposed minimum sentence was still life imprisonment with no fewer than 15 strokes of the cane.

“All parties should view this amendment as a proactive step by the government to ensure appropriate justice for those who should not receive the mandatory death penalty,” she said in a statement. Read more

New drug law would give AGC power of life and death, says MP

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 — Putrajaya’s proposal to make the death penalty optional could instead allow the Attorney-General’s Chambers to decide if an accused should die for his crime, said PKR’S N. Surendran.

Criticising the government for stopping short of removing the death penalty in the proposed amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, the Padang Serai MP said the change would mean the courts could only opt for a lesser sentence if the prosecutor was agreeable.

“The Bill does not go far enough, gives the power to decide life or death to the public prosecutor and is in breach of the doctrine of separation of powers.

“The new amendments are thus a serious trespass upon judicial authority and infringe the constitutional doctrine of the separation of powers. The act of sentencing and the type of sentence must be purely a judicial exercise, without any involvement whatsoever of the executive. Read more

Opposition lawmakers, member seek to challenge constitutionality of Peaceful Assembly Act

Source: The Malaysian Insight

TWO opposition assemblymen and a party worker who were charged for violating the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) by participating in a street protest two years ago, have applied to refer their case to the Federal Court on constitutional grounds.

Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Azman Abdullah stayed the proceedings today and said he would decide on December 13 whether the case would be referred to the Federal Court.

Teja assemblyman Chang Lih Kang, 37, Semambu assemblyman Lee Chean Chung, 36, and former political secretary to PKR vice-president Tian Chua, Rozan Azen Mat Rasip, 40 were ordered to by the magistrate’s court to enter their defence in August.

They were charged under Section 4(2c) of the PAA for participating in the “Kita Lawan” rally in March 2015 to call for opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to be released and for Prime Minister Najib Razak to step down. Read more

Govt tables amendment to allow judges to decide penalty for drug traffickers

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — Putrajaya tabled today an amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 (DDA) to return discretionary powers to the court instead of imposing the mandatory death sentence on drug traffickers.

The amendment, tabled for first reading today by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, seeks to revert Section 39B as law.

The provision, introduced in an amendment to the DDA or Act 234 in 1975, had allowed a person convicted of drug trafficking to be punished with jail and whipping or death.

It was removed in 1983 so that drug traffickers could only be punished with death.

Under the new amendment to Section 39B(2) of the DDA, any person who is found guilty of trafficking dangerous drugs can be be punished with either the death penalty or life in prison and whipping with a minimum of 15 strokes. Read more

Putrajaya: Freedom of religion does not equal freedom from religion

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 ― A deputy minister today claimed that atheism is a “very dangerous” ideology that goes against not only the Rukunegara that prescribes “believe in God” as one of the tenets, but also the Federal Constitution.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki alleged that the freedom of religion in the Constitution which guarantees the freedom to worship does not include the freedom to not believe.

“We have to understand that in the Malaysian context, our Federal Constitution states that the freedom of religion does not mean freedom from any religion because that is unconstitutional.

“This means we cannot incite someone to leave a religion or promote not having a religion. We cannot order or promote a belief of not having a religion, that is against the Federal Constitution,” he said. Read more

Don’t equate constitution with shariah, says lawyer

Source: FMT News

Jasser Auda (left) and Ab Kadir Ismail.
Pic from FMT News

PETALING JAYA: An official of the Shariah Lawyers Association has disputed Islamic scholar Jasser Auda’s view that the Malaysian constitution is in line with the spirit of the shariah.

Ab Kadir Ismail, who heads the association’s Selangor chapter, said no man-made body of laws could claim to be in the spirit of the shariah if it did not explicitly recognise God’s omniscience and omnipotence.

“There is no provision in the constitution that says Allah is superior and that the main sources of law are the Quran and Sunnah,” he said.

Auda, the chairman of the London-based Maqasid Institute, told a recent forum that he disagreed with calls to amend the Malaysian constitution, saying it already placed importance on peace, stability, and justice as required by Islam. Read more