Hadi’s Bill opens doors for disproportionate punishments, constitutional expert says

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Professor Datuk Shad Saleem Faruqi speaks at the forum 'Sejauh mana anda memahami hudud' at the PAUM Club House in Kuala Lumpur February 12, 2017. — Picture by Boo Su-Lyn

Professor Datuk Shad Saleem Faruqi speaks at the forum ‘Sejauh mana anda memahami hudud’ at the PAUM Club House in Kuala Lumpur February 12, 2017. — Picture by Boo Su-Lyn

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 — A private member’s Bill to enhance Shariah punishments will enable excessive sentences for religious offences that mostly victimless and non-violent, Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi said today.

The constitutional expert said the Bill by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang will also allow penalties for Shariah offences that are harsher than even punishments for heavier crimes in the civil system.

“Punishment must be proportionate to the offence committed,” the University of Malaya’s emeritus professor of law said in a forum on understanding the Islamic penal code of hudud organised by Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

“You’re going to have penalties of 100 lashes, RM100,000 fine, or 30 years’ jail for offences that are in some cases are purely victimless crimes. Some of Shariah crimes are victimless crimes — a person drinks, doesn’t pray, doesn’t fast — there is no clear harm to public order and national security.

“In Criminal Procedure Code, Penal Code, the offences are much lesser for much bigger offences,” Shad said. Read more

In plea to MPs, CCM says Hadi’s Bill will ‘radically’ rewrite constitution

Source: The Malay Mail Online

hermen-shastri1-150813_620_412_100

CCM secretary-general Reverend Dr Hermen Shastri urges MPs not to look at the Bill lightly and instead view it with ‘great concern and alarm’. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 ― The Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) today warned MPs against Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s Private Member’s Bill that is intended to empower Shariah Courts, saying that a vote for the Bill will “radically” rewrite the Federal Constitution.

In an open letter just two days before the upcoming parliamentary session, CCM secretary-general Reverend Dr Hermen Shastri urged MPs not to look at the Bill lightly and instead view it with “great concern and alarm”.

“Lawmakers must not treat Hadi’s attempt to alter our country’s justice system set in place by our founding fathers and consistently sustained for over 55 years lightly.

“Hadi’s Bill is not just about upgrading the power of the Shariah Courts, it is rewriting the constitution in a radical way,” he said in his letter.

Shastri pointed out that Shariah Courts were established and regulated by state laws, and that their powers and offences were defined by the Federal Constitution.

He added that the ramification to widen Islamic laws was not only limited to those who are Muslims, but was also a matter of concern in allowing future state laws to be altered by federal powers. Read more

Vote against Hadi’s Private Members Bill — Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Taoism

Source: The Malay Mail Online

An opinion piece - file pic

An opinion piece – file pic

OCTOBER 15 — The  Malaysian  Counsultative  Council  of  Buddhism, Christianity, Hindusim, Sikhism and Taosim (MCCBCHST) is gravely concerned with Hadi’s Private Members Bill  which will be coming up for debate soon in our Federal Parliament. As the Bill will have far-reaching consequences for the Nation, the MCCBCHST feels duty-bound to issue this open letter to Members of Parliament to do their duty as required by their oath of office to protect our Federal Consitution.

I Is Hadi’s Private Member’s Bill a Bill empowering HUDUD offences?

The answer is a clear ‘YES’. Here is why

The aim of Hadi’s Private Member’s Bill is to seek Parliament’s approval to enhance the Jurisdiction of the Syariah Courts. Presently the Syariah Courts can only impose punishments up to 3 years imprisonment, fine up to  RM5,000.00 and whipping up to 6 lashes (commonly known as 3-5-6 limits). This is provided for by the Syariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355). Read more

It’s a motion: Legislative process for Private Member’s Bill — Ooi Heng

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY OOI HENG

Malaysian Parliament — MMO file pic

Malaysian Parliament — MMO file pic

OCTOBER 15 — Dewan Rakyat will resume sitting on the 17th of October. The Dewan Rakyat Order Paper showed that the first four items of business consists of three motions and one Government Bill. The motion by the President of Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) and Member of Parliament (MP) for Marang, Hadi Awang, is being listed as the fourth item. It is understandable that the media are focusing on this fourth item.

In the past, the media tend to make such reports, treating a motion as a bill, and treating the legislative procedure of a Private Member’s Bill as the same as that of a Government Bill. Dealing with the controversial ‘Hudud issue’, the media currently need to present the aspects of the different legislative procedures.

The legislative procedures for Government Bills and non-Government Bills are not indifferent. Those being presented by Government frontbenchers or ‘MPs who are ministers’ are Government Bills, while those being presented by the so-called ‘ordinary Members of Parliament’ (ordinary MPs) or ‘MPs who are not ministers’ are non-Government Bills. The Government frontbenchers are representing the executive branch, while the ordinary MPs consisting of government backbenchers, opposition MPs and independent MPs, are representing the legislative branch. Read more

Ambiga: Brake on MPs’ freedom of speech erodes democracy

Source: FMT News

HAKAM President Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 15, 2015.

HAKAM President Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 15, 2015.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Human Rights Society has expressed concern that certain parties are explicit that non-Muslims MPs should not debate the hudud Bill while Muslim lawmakers must vote ‘aye’ for the law.

“These two statements undermine our parliamentary democracy,” its president Ambiga Sreenevasan said.

The lawyer made the remarks when she took to the podium at the inaugural lecture “Reclaiming our Federal Constitution – Preserve, Protect & Defend” at the University of Malaya Thursday.

Saying she would not go into the merits of the Bill, which is scheduled to be tabled by PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang when Parliament begins its session next week, Ambiga lamented:

“They are saying that non-Muslim MPs cannot discuss the legislation that is coming before Parliament. They are also saying that Muslim MPs have no choice but to vote.

“And we never had such a situation in the past. Of course, when it comes to the (party) whip, that is a different thing. So those are the things that worry me.” Read more

Courts have dealt with basic structure doctrine – Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Sundaily

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(Deputy President, HAKAM)

“PAS bill – unconstitutional?” (Letters, June 13) refers. Simon Wood says that Malaysian courts have rejected the proposition that there is a basic structure of the Constitution that must be upheld.

He cites Phang Chin Hock’s case in support. It is important to note that in this case this point was left open. Suffian LP said:
“For the reasons which will appear when we deal with the third point in a moment, it is unnecessary for us to say whether or not Parliament’s power of constitutional amendment extends to destroying the basic structure of the Constitution.”

And again in the Federal Court case, Mark Koding v Public Prosecutor, his lordship chose not to deliver an opinion on the applicability of the doctrine:

“… it was therefore unnecessary for us to consider the question whether or not Parliament has power to so amend the Constitution as to alter its basic structure whatever that may be.”

Simon expresses the hope that with the probable passing of the PAS bill it might be an appropriate time for the Federal Court to reconsider whether this doctrine has application to Malaysia’s complex system of government.

Actually he need wait no longer. The Federal Court in the case of Sivarasa decided that such a doctrine applies. Read more

The thorny issue of hudud – Zainah Anwar

Source: The Star Online

BY ZAINAH ANWAR

Hadi_Parlimen_1206_p27_nurilyanna_1

Eye of the storm: As far as Abdul Hadi and PAS are concerned, they have ‘won’ the first step in implementing its brand of hudud. Pic taken from The Star Online.

PAS’ hudud always been a divisive issue which led to the breakup of Pakatan Rakyat. Now, it is a bigger threat.

CABINET Ministers who support the amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 355 may continue to claim that it is not the prelude to enforcing hudud in Malaysia.

But as far as Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and PAS are concerned, they have checkmated Umno. It is the gateway to implementing hudud in Kelantan that they had strategised for – without having to amend the Federal Constitution.

In October 2011, PAS set up a technical committee on hudud and appointed a Constitutional lawyer to prepare a working paper. The strategy was to amend federal laws which needed only a simple majority, rather than going for a Constitu­tional amendment which would need a two-thirds majority which they knew they could not muster.

In April 2014, the new Kelantan Menteri Besar announced the plan to table two Private Member’s Bills to enable the Syariah Criminal Code II (1993), the so-called hudud law of Kelantan, to be enforced.

The tabling of the amendment to Act 355 to remove the limits on punishments that the Syariah Courts can impose will now open the way for any state in Malaysia to enhance the punitive powers of the syariah system.

Currently, Syariah Courts can impose a maximum of three years’ imprisonment, a fine of RM5,000 or six strokes of the rotan.

This amendment now removes this jurisdictional limit and replaces it with “any sentence allowed by Islamic law” other than the death penalty. This will then enable the Kelantan state government to impose hudud punishments of up to 100 lashes and amputation of hand and foot. Read more

PAS bill – constitutional? — Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Sundaily

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(Deputy President, HAKAM)

Parliament of Malaysia. – Wikipedia pic, January 28, 2016.

Parliament of Malaysia. – Wikipedia pic, January 28, 2016.

A SUSTAINED loud chorus of protestations has greeted the Dewan Rakyat speaker’s unprecedented decision to leapfrog the so-called hudud bill at the last parliamentary session.

Even the mover of the motion appeared ill-prepared as he asked for the bill to be carried over to the next session.

The intense angst against the introduction of the bill has been from just about every section of our citizenry.

Members of the ruling coalition have complained that there was no prior consultation.

The issue threatens to tear apart all manner of constitutional and political arrangements – a Sabah minister has cautioned against upsetting the sensitivities of the state.

Some have attributed a hidden agenda – given the timing before the two impending by-elections.

The powers on high have sought to describe the bill as no more than an expansion of the existing syariah law in Kelantan.

This state law provides for the criminalisation of certain actions by Muslim offenders.

This revised stance is rather surprising – given that these same leaders have hitherto questioned the right of Kelantan to provide for criminal sanctions.

And they have been right in this regard. Read more

Attack on increased jurisdiction of Syariah courts unconstitutional and an affront to religious liberty — Azril Mohd Amin

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY AZRIL MOHD AMIN

June 1 — The Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (CENTHRA) reads with deep concern the joint statement by the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) with regards to the Private Member’s Bill tabled by YB Dato’ Seri Haji Abdul Hadi Awang, Member of Parliament for Marang seeking to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Amended 1984) to enable the increase of punishments meted out by the Syariah courts (Increasing powers of Syariah Courts may lead to rights violations, MalaysiaKini, 31 May 2016).

We note that the joint statement contains several factually inaccurate assertions as well as downright false and misleading claims, not to mention baseless accusations regarding the proposed Bill in particular, as well as the administration of criminal justice by the Syariah judiciary in general, which we feel compelled to address as well as redress, if only to put in proper perspective the issues surrounding this debate, considering, to borrow the statement’s own words, the level of debate this has generated in the public sphere. Read more

Increasing powers of Shariah Courts may lead to violation of human rights in Malaysia — JAG

Source: The Malay Mail Online

MAY 31 — The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) express our concern at the tabling of the Private Member’s Bill to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, to increase the punishments meted out by Shariah courts.

We are concerned of the manner in which this Private Members’ Bill was tabled in Parliament.  JAG urges that the government and the other parties involved give full regard to the democratic way which we must observe in putting forward any legislation, particularly where the public has significant concerns.  Considering the level of debate this has generated in the public sphere, JAG requests that any future tabling of this Private Members’ Bill or anything akin to it go through a thorough process which accords full and fair transparency and debate prior to its tabling in Parliament.  It is our right as citizens of this country to be given our opportunity to present our views on a legislation that will have deep impact on our society in the future. Read more