KOTA BARU: A bill to be tabled in the Kelantan legislative assembly next week proposing amendments to the stateâ€™s hudud laws approved 20 years ago is most likely to be carried.
A key feature of the amendments to the Syariah Criminal Code (II) Enactment, Kelantan, 1993 is that these hudud laws will apply only to Muslims.
The existing enactment offers non-Muslims the option of being tried under the hudud laws or civil law, said Pas assistant secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan.
The amendments are to be tabled on Wednesday in the assembly, which is scheduled to sit for four days from Monday.
The improvements and amendments to the enactment are based on the views and suggestions of various quarters, among them legal experts, politicians and non-governmental organisations.
â€œWith these amendments, the penal code shall be applicable to every normal (mukalaf) Muslim for any offence under the code,â€ said Takiyuddin, who also heads the Permanent Secretariat of the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code.
Takiyuddin, who is the Kota Baru Member of Parliament and a legal practitioner, said the non-Muslims should no longer fear the implementation of the hudud laws.
The amendments would also streamline the penalty for offences pertaining to sodomy and adultery as well as cover technical matters, he said.
He said Kelantan Pas recognised the support Umno had provided for the implementation of the Syariah penal code in the state, especially when the hudud bill was passed by the state assembly on Nov 25, 1993.
He also said that the establishment of a joint technical committee by the state and federal governments to review the implementation of hudud in Kelantan was seen as a positive development towards implementing the Islamic penal code.
Takiyuddin said two matters had to be sorted out to overcome the legal impediments to gazetting and implementing the Kelantan hudud laws, and named these as amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 and Article 76A (1) of the Federal Constitution that had to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat.
He said a Pas MP would table a Private Memberâ€™s Bill to amend Article 76A (1) of the Federal Constitution to empower the state government to implement the Syariah penal code while the federal government would have to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 pertaining to the jurisdiction of the Syariah courts.
Takiyuddin said Pas had not decided when the Private Memberâ€™s Bill would be tabled in Parliament and he did not know when the federal government would move to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965.
He expressed the hope that all the 132 Muslim MPs would support the two bills in the Dewan Rakyat.
The attempt by Pas to implement hudud laws in Kelantan faces objection even from one of its allies in the opposition Pakatan Rakyat pact, namely DAP. The other of its allies in the pact is PKR.
Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo of the DAP had recently warned Pas that the party would not be seen as part of the opposition coalition if it persisted in tabling the amendments to the hudud laws in the Kelantan assembly.
PAS brought up the issue of hudud laws at a Pakatan Rakyat meeting yesterday but Gobind Singh was quoting as saying afterwards that â€œit is a bill that pretty much reintroduces the whole of the 1993 enactment.â€
Kelantan Deputy Menteri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah had warned DAP to cease making further statements against Pasâ€™ efforts to implement hudud laws.
He said the state government would not bow to pressure from DAP, and was more eager than ever to go ahead with its plan. – BERNAMA