KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 — The proposed amendment to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355) will not deprive other religions of their rights, says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom.
He said the proposed amendment was only intended to strengthen the syariah court institution and questioned the many obstacles that had to be faced to get it implemented.
“Why is it so difficult for us, Muslims, to empower the Syariah Court that we have to gather in heavy rain like we do today,” he said at the 355 Gathering at Padang Merbok here tonight.
He told the tens of thousands of supporters at the gathering that the same law was amended in 1984 and it went smoothly with no objection from parliamentary members, including the non-Muslims.
“But now we see faces (of individuals) and write-up questioning this amendment, claiming that it is a back door to get the Hudud Law to be implemented in the country,” he added.
Jamil Khir also conveyed greetings from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to the crowd.
The gathering was held to explain to Muslims on the proposed amendment to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965.
The proposed amendment, among others, involve efforts to impose stiffer penalties on Muslims and will not affect the non-Muslims.
On Nov 24 last year, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang brought forth a motion on his revised Private Member’s Bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) 1965, or better known as Act 355 in the Dewan Rakyat.
However, the Marang Member of Parliament (MP) requested that the detailed explanation on the motion be made at the next Dewan Rakyat meeting as the proposed amendments should be fully understood as many quarters were still confused and often engaged in polemics about the matter.
The Dewan Rakyat next sitting is set to begin on March 7. — Bernama