KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — Kelantan’s hudud enactment violates the secular foundation upon which Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak had formed Malaysia, Sarawak churches said today.
The Kuching Ministers’ Fellowship (KMF), a network of church pastors and leaders in Sarawak, joined the Sabah Council of Churches in criticising the passing of the Kelantan Shariah Criminal Code II Enactment 1993 (amendment 2015) last month in the east coast state run by Islamist party PAS.
“The recently-passed Kelantan hudud enactment is in direct contradiction to the aspirations of founding fathers of our nation to keep Malaysia a secular state as evidenced in several historical documents that explicitly state this,” KMF chairman Pastor Daron Tan said in a statement.
“The introduction of hudud law is a fundamental breach and deviation from the expressed commitment to complete religious freedom, a key term underpinning the Malaysia Agreement signed in July 1963 between Sarawak, Sabah and Malaya,” he added.
Tan stressed that the criminal justice system remains under federal jurisdiction, as stated in the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.
“Any fundamental change to this package changes the very basis upon which the Christians in Sarawak also agreed to form Malaysia and it requires a thorough re-negotiation of the Federal Constitution,” he said.
Kelantan’s hudud enactment seeks to impose punishment under the Shariah courts on crimes like theft and robbery, which are already crimes under the civil penal code.
The Sabah Council of Churches said last month that Kelantan’s plans to enforce hudud in the state amounts to a “betrayal” of Sabah’s trust when it agreed to form Malaysia with Malaya and Sarawak.
Two-thirds of Christians in Malaysia are Bumiputeras living in Sabah and Sarawak.
PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s two private members’ Bills to remove the legal blocks to the rollout of hudud in Kelantan have appeared in the order paper for the current Parliament session that ends Thursday.
The Bills seek to amend Section 2 of the Shariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355), which currently states that the Shariah courts have jurisdiction over Muslims with respect to the State List of the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution that excludes criminal law.