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Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Star is simply deplorable!


By Lukman Sheriff, Tanjak

I’m saddened by the fact that the RUU 355 bill has still not been debated. But The Star has crossed the line with its false propaganda to try and deter the tabling of the bill.
The Star came to the fore with these Nov 24 front page banner headlines — ‘Solid “NO” to Hadi’s Bill’ and ‘Having two legal systems would tear Malaysia apart‘.
There is fair argument and there is false argument. The Star has promoted a false argument on this issue and crossed the line.
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M’sian constitution permits dual legal system

We have had two legal systems i.e. Syariah and civil courts for a long time. A very long time even predating Merdeka.
When our constitution was enacted, it incorporated this legacy. Since then, the limits of offences for syariah criminal laws triable in Syariah Courts have been established by federal law.
This is expressly mandated by the constitution. Thus Act 355 and its predecessors came about.
OUR CONSTITUTION PERMITS THIS DUAL SYSTEM EXPRESSLY.
However, during the discourse I had with a number of people, a great number of non Muslims are not aware of the role of Syariah Courts in our society, and thus some falsely think this Act 355 affects the non Muslims.
Somehow some Muslims also argue the same. And then there is also a number who are under a misconception that our constitution is wholly secular and thus demand that religion and state be separated.
These are all fraudulent arguments against the context and express wordings of our constitution.
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Act 355 can’t extend Syariah Court criminal jurisdiction

For the uninitiated, the proposed amendments to Act 355 only affect sentencing of existing offences. It cannot extend the scope of syariah jurisdiction as that will be against the constitution.
Currently we have had Islamic laws for certain hudud and non hudud offences even before Merdeka. Act 355 can affect the sentences of only these offences. Act 355 cannot in any way extend the criminal jurisdiction of the Syariah Courts.
This compliance with the constitution was made expressly clear by the proposed amendments. Thus the oft quoted proposition that Act 355 will allow amputation of hand for theft (sariqah) is misleading, misconceived, false and in certain instances made in bad faith.
I can understand if laymen who are ignorant having such false views.
BUT FOR ‘THE STAR’ TO ECHO, VALIDATE AND PROMOTE SUCH FRAUDULENT VIEWS IS WHOLLY UNETHICAL, WRONGFUL AND DEPLORABLE.
The paper is also highly biased in promoting essentially the wrongful views of a number of non Muslims only. The bigger majority views are suppressed, set aside and not even being considered in the headline.
THIS IS THE RUBBISH JOURNALISM OF THE STAR TO FOMENT A POSITION OF DISCORD AND UNTRUTH.
For this I totally condemn The Star.
The paper is enhancing a deeply wrongful narrative that only one court, i.e. civil courts must prevail and that Syariah Courts should not coexist together with civil courts or that it should be subsumed under civil courts.
Meaning to say that Islamic laws must therefore be subject to the civil laws.
The Star is playing a dangerous game in pushing its misleading narrative.
The idea that only one court prevails is against the express intent of our constitution. This false narrative must be opposed with fervour.

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