Kelantan lawmakers unanimously approve amendments to hudud Bill

THE Kelantan state assembly has unanimously passed the amendments to the Syariah Criminal Code Enactment II 1993 with 41 state assemblymen, including PKR’s sole representative, present to approve the controversial amendment. 

Earlier, Kelantan Mentri Besar Ahmad Yaakob told the assembly that hudud will be implemented gradually to allow the public to understand and appreciate the just in Allah’s laws. 

Hudud is a set of laws and punishments set in the Quran that could allow for flogging and amputation, among other forms of punishment. The Bill, tabled by the Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS)-led state government, sets out amendments to the Syariah Criminal Code Enactment II 1993.

The Bill stipulates six offences that are punishable under hudud. One of the offences is falsely accusing others of unlawful relations. Before a charge of illicit sex can be upheld, there must now be four witnesses to an act. This offence is punishable by 100 lashes.

Sodomy or anal sex is an offence not only between men or between a man and a woman out of wedlock, but also between husbands and wives in the absence of consent. A wife may now lodge a police report against the husband for forcing anal sex on her.

The offence is punishable by 100 lashes if the person is unmarried and death by stoning if married. 

Apostasy is considered a crime and could be punishable by death. Other offences that are punishable under the hudud law are theft (amputation of one hand), robbery (amputation of one hand and one foot), and consuming liquor or intoxicants (80 lashes).

PAS will now need to find the numbers in Federal Parliament to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355) and Article 76A (1) of the Federal Constitution to allow the implementation of hudud in Kelantan through a private member’s Bill - a Bill or proposed law introduced by a member of parliament who is not acting on behalf of the government. 

The private member's Bill will need a simple majority of 112 members of parliament, out of the 222-member legislature, in order for it to be passed.

PAS and Umno alone cannot pass the Bill, but will need the 18 Muslim MPs from PKR (16) and DAP (2). 

asruls@sph.com.sg