Gerakan opposes Syariah police proposal Baljit Singh: It is in conflict with the Federal Constitution

Press statement by

Gerakan National Human Rights and Law Bureau Chairman

Baljit Singh

29 January 2014
 
Commenting on the proposal of establishing a Syariah police unit by the Home Ministry, Gerakan National Human Rights and Law Bureau Chairman, Baljit Singh voiced his disagreement with the step, saying that it is incongruent with the Federal Constitution and the federal structure of our country. 
 
“First of all, the move to establish a Syariah police unit will create confusion amongst the public as the role of this unit is ambiguous. Secondly, will this unit have jurisdiction over the non-Muslims? They can't because the constitution does not allow it."
 
Baljit noted that under the 9th Schedule of the Federal Constitution, civil and criminal law and procedure and administration of justice does not include Islamic personal law relating to such as marriage, divorce guardianship, family law and several others.
 
Furthermore, the police falls under the Federal list while Islamic matters falls under the state list. 
 

“Other than the points said above, one important concern by non-Muslims is that will this proposed unit seek to impose its authority over them. We are giving rise to a constitutional tangle and there is no need for us to further aggravate the state of race relations in Malaysia.”

 
 
He noted that the reason such concern arises was that there were an abundance of cases where the authorities were caught abusing their powers such as the Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (JAIS) raid on the Bible Society of Malaysia previously.
 

“Incidents of abuse and neglect by the authorities such as death during lock-up has created a trust-deficit between the police and the public. Instead of creating another new unit that is unconstitutional, the government should instead spend more effort in trying to reduce the trust deficit to avoid any potential conflict.”

 

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