20160527 JOINT PRESS STATEMENT _ Keep the 3-6-5 Safeguards within Act 355 - Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia

20160527 JOINT PRESS STATEMENT _ Keep the 3-6-5 Safeguards within Act 355


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 Sathasivam
MIC President
Minister of Health

Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong
Gerakan National President
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department

Dato’ Sri Richard Riot Jaem
SUPP Deputy President
Minister of Human Resources




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