Shariah Bill breaches equality before law rule, Chinese businesses say

The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) stressed that Malaysia’s supreme law does not provide for separate justice systems. — Picture by Shaun Tan
The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) stressed that Malaysia’s supreme law does not provide for separate justice systems. — Picture by Shaun Tan

KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) joined today opposition to PAS’s Shariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Bill, saying the proposed legislation creates two separate legal systems which is unconstitutional.

In a statement, the business group said it respects Islam as the country’s official religion and does not seek to meddle in Muslim affairs, but stressed that Malaysia’s supreme law does not provide for separate justice systems.

“Article 8 of Federal Constitution provides that every citizen of Malaysia is equal before the law.

“The amendment of Act 355 poses a serious threat to national unity and harmony of the nation,” it said.

It emphasised that once passed, the door will open for the implementation of the much-feared hudud in PAS-ruled Kelantan and other states if they chose to follow suit.

“This kind [of] wide ranging power to the states is unprecedented and is a serious threat to our criminal justice system and it encroaches onto the jurisdiction of civil courts,” it said.

It said the Bill has caused anxiety to Malaysians and urged  MPs from both the ruling Barisan Nasional and the opposition to oppose its passage through Parliament.

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