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Proposal for syariah police sets off debate in Malaysia

Published on Jan 27, 2014 11:02 AM

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia will be setting up a new police unit based at the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) to help enforce all laws on Islamic criminal offences.

This plan has, however, sparked debate among constitutional experts and Syariah lawyers, with some questioning the need for such a unit and the powers it will have.

Jakim director-general Othman Mustafa, who had spoken to the Bernama news agency about the plan on Saturday, confirmed on Sunday that the unit would be tasked with enforcing all Syariah criminal offences and not just deviant teachings as Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had announced in December.

Law experts are at odds over the powers of the police in enforcing Syariah laws which are applicable only to Muslims, and have urged the Home Ministry and Jakim to quickly provide more details.

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