Parts of civil laws in this country were indirectly based on Christian principles of morality and Muslims in Malaysia have not complained about these, a lawyer contended.
Lawyer Aidil Khalid said that civil laws in Malaysia, particularly the Penal Code, were laws imported from India, which in turn were adopted from the British legal system.
"In turn, some (of these laws) are based on the principles of morality from Christian principles.
"Muslims in this country have been subjected to the civil laws, we do not complain," Aidil said in a debate at Petaling Jaya last night about the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355) proposed amendments.
"What I mean is that we (Muslims) never complained that the laws are based on a religion that is not ours," he explained further when the crowd of over 100 people jeered at his earlier statement.
He said Act 355 amendments only seek to legislate the principles of morality of the Islamic religion.
"And we do not even want to impose it on the non-Muslims. It is only for Muslims," he added.
The proposed amendments for Act 355 seeks to increase the maximum punishments the syariah courts can mete out from three years' imprisonment, RM5,000 fine and six strokes of the rotan to 30 years' imprisonment, RM100,000 fine and 100 strokes of the rotan.
Earlier, Aidil had argued that there is a trend among Malaysian lawyers to import colonial ideologies in interpreting the Federal Constitution when they should be interpreting it based on our own tradition.
He had also pointed out that matters involving Islam come under state’s jurisdiction and it is not Parliament's business to be debating them.
"Why are you opposing to allow the states to debate, enact and pass matters on Islam?" he asked.
In the debate organised by secular group Bebas, Aidil and fellow lawyer Lukman Sheriff Alias argued for the motion ‘Act 355 amendments should be made into law’, while lawyers Ambiga Sreenevasan and Haris Ibrahim took the opposing side.
Haris said that the Islam and Quran he has come to understand is filled with compassion and forgiveness.
"I find that, yes, there are mentions of punishments... but the Quran is replete with verses to ask us to forgive, forgive and forgive.
"It also enjoins its followers to enjoy goodwill with their fellow humans.
"This is the Islam that I see and I am not prepared to have that taken from me," he said.
However, Aidil argued that interpretations of Islam and the Quran should be left to scholars who have spent entire lives dedicated to understanding the religion.
"It is extreme arrogance from us to say anybody can decide on this."- Mkini