Hudud Bill removes ‘3-6-5 safeguards', say BN component parties

PETALING JAYA: Several Barisan Nasional (BN)’s component parties have expressed their disappointment that PAS’ Private Members’ Bill was not discussed in the Cabinet or the ruling coalition’s supreme council.    

The parties said they were saddened that the Bill was permitted to be tabled by PAS president and Marang MP Datuk Seri Hadi Awang on Thursday by elevating it above Government matters.  

“What Hadi’s Private Members’ Bill is attempting to do right now is to dismantle all of these, and the Bill in its current form, if passed, is against the spirit of the Federal Constitution,” they said in a joint statement on Friday.

The statement was signed by MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, MIC president Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, Gerakan president Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong and SUPP deputy president Datuk Seri Richard Riot.  

They said the Private Members’ Bill seeks to primarily remove safeguards commonly known as the “3-6-5 safeguards” from the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965.  

According to them, the Federal Constitution provides that “all persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law”.  

“A cornerstone of unity and harmony amongst the various ethnic groups and creeds for a country such as Malaysia must be anchored on fairness, equality, consistency and uniformity of laws and this must extend to the enforcement of such laws and the form of punishment.

“The punishment and sentencing must also be equal and consistent for all affected persons in Malaysia.  

“The ‘3-6-5 safeguards’ is consistent with this equality and consistency and is expressed in the case of Act 355 as placing limits to ensure that all forms of punishment are consistent and uniform i.e. that punishments will not exceed imprisonment of a term of three years, whipping of six strokes or a fine of RM5,000,” they said.  

The statement added that if Hadi was successful in removing the “3-6-5 safeguards”, the authorities would be able to enact any form of punishment, except the death penalty.  

They added that the forms of punishments under hudud include public whipping or flogging, amputation and possibly long-term imprisonment.

“Our parties cannot support any Bill which is vague, uncertain, open-ended and which can lend itself to great inconsistency, injustice and inequality in its application to Malaysians of any community,” said the statement.  

The parties added that they believed the Bill was an attempt to circumvent settled constitutional and legal principles by conferring unlimited sentencing powers on the Syariah criminal courts to facilitate the introduction of Islamic criminal law.


* The following is the joint press statement by MCA, MIC, Gerakan and SUPP  

Keep the 3-6-5 Safeguards within Act 355  

Introduction  


We are saddened by the current events where the PAS MP for Marang YB Dato’ Seri Hadi Awang’s Private Member’s Bill was permitted to be tabled for debate by elevating it above government’s matters.  

We are also disappointed by the fact that this matter was not discussed within the Cabinet or the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council.  

The Private Member’s Bill seeks to primarily remove safeguards which we refer to as the “3-6-5 Safeguards” from the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, otherwise known as Act 355. The “3-6-5 Safeguards” provide that any offence punishable under the Syariah Courts is limited to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 3 years, or whipping of not more than 6 strokes, or fine of not more than RM5,000. This is in the interest of the consistency and uniformity with our laws.  

What Hadi’s Private Member’s Bill is attempting to do right now is to dismantle all of these, and the Bill in its current form if passed is against the spirit of the Federal Constitution.  

Article 8 of the Federal Constitution – Equality Before the Law  

Article 8(1) of the Federal Constitution provides that “all persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.” A cornerstone of unity and harmony amongst the various ethnic groups and creeds for a country such as Malaysia must be anchored on fairness, equality, consistency and uniformity of laws and this must extend to the enforcement of such laws and the form of punishment. The punishment and sentencing must also be equal and consistent for all affected persons in Malaysia. The “3-6-5 Safeguards” is consistent with this equality and consistency and is expressed in the case of Act 355 as placing limits to ensure that all forms of punishment are consistent and uniform i.e. that punishments will not exceed imprisonment of a term of 3 years, whipping of 6 strokes or a fine of RM5,000.  

If Hadi is successful in removing this “3-6-5 Safeguards”, the authorities will be able to enact any form of punishment except the death penalty. Whilst Hadi has told us that he will not impose the death penalty, he has NOT told us what he will impose. From what we know, these are the forms of punishments under hudud – public whipping/ flogging, amputation and possibly long term imprisonment. Hadi needs to come clean and be forthright to all Malaysians and fully disclose how he wants to punish Malaysian Muslims. Our parties cannot support any Bill which is vague, uncertain, open-ended and which can lend itself to great inconsistency, injustice and inequality in its application to Malaysians of any community.  

We are of the opinion that this is an attempt to circumvent settled constitutional and legal principles by conferring unlimited sentencing powers to the Syariah criminal courts to facilitate the introduction of Islamic criminal law. This will lead to the duplicity of laws as there will be two sets of laws for the same offences in the country in contravention of Article 8 of the Federal Constitution.  

It has also been greatly publicised that this Private Member’s Bill will only affect Muslims in Kelantan and will not be imposed on Muslims elsewhere in Malaysia. Any Bill which seeks to impose an open-ended form of punishment on a select group of Malaysians (in this case, Kelantanese Malaysian Muslims) will be imposing a law unequally to the detriment of Kelantanese Malay Muslims This is in contravention of Article 8 of the Federal Constitution which provides that punishment and sentencing must embody some form of equality and consistency (as is now the case with the “3-6-5 Safeguards”), Hadi’s attempt to remove the “3-6-5 Safeguards” is against Article 8 of the Federal Constitution and is thus unconstitutional.  


Dato’ Sri Liow Tiong Lai

MCA President

Minister of Transport

 

Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam

MIC President

Minister of Health

 

Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong

Gerakan National President

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department

 

Dato’ Sri Richard Riot

SUPP Deputy President

Minister of Human Resources




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