A private member's bill to allow the Islamic penal code or hudud law in the Malaysian state of Kelantan has been put on the Parliament's order paper.
The bill, submitted by opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) president Abdul Hadi Awang to amend the Syariah courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, is the last on the agenda of items up for debate in Parliament.
According to the New Straits Times, the bill seeks to replace existing provisions in the Syariah court's criminal jurisdiction and to allow several categories of punishments to be meted out.
The newspaper noted that the bill may not make it to the debate stage as there are 12 government bills up for debate. Government bills normally take precedence. Further, there are also 27 motions submitted by federal lawmakers. The current Parliament sitting ends on 18 June.
The Kelantan state government had on 19 March unanimously passed the Syariah Criminal Code II Enactment 1993 (Amendment 2015). The new amended state law cannot take effect until the Federal law's legislation on Islamic legislation is amended. PAS president Abdul Hadi is seeking to amend the federal law through the private member's bill.
He submitted a private member's bill in the Parliament's order papers on 7 April, but the bill failed to be debated due to time constraints.
PAS has been ruling the Kelantan state since 1990.
So what are the laws sought to be implemented in Kelantan?
According to the Straits Times, the hudud laws allow for flogging and amputation, forms of punishment that are illegal under Malaysia's federal laws.
Hudud punishments cover, among others, the following:
- Theft, two adult male witnesses are required to prove the offence and the punishment is to cut off the thief's hands;
- Extramarital sex, four adult male witnesses are needed and the penalty meted is 100 lashes if the offender is unmarried and stoning to death if the offender is married;
- Robbery with violence requires two adult male witnesses and the punishment meted out can vary from imprisonment, cutting off of limbs and the death penalty if anyone is killed;
- False accusations or slander requires four adult male witnesses and it comes with 80 lashes;
- Drinking intoxicating substances needs two adult male witnesses and the offender will be given between 40-80 lashes.
The newspaper said that the hudud laws would be applicable to Muslims of sound mind and who have attained puberty. It covers foreigners who are Muslims and commit the offence in Kelantan. They do not apply to non-Muslims.