Govt looking at fixing loopholes in syariah criminal law

31 Oct 2023 08:03am
Mohd Na'im. FILE PIX
Mohd Na'im. FILE PIX

KUALA LUMPUR - The government is looking into closing the loopholes (lacuna) that exist in the Syariah Criminal Procedure Act or Enactment to ensure that it is in line with current affairs.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Dr Mohd Na’im Mokhtar said it was also to ensure syariah law was not manipulated by irresponsible parties, especially for syariah crimes committed online, to make enforcement and prosecution more efficient.

"This Syariah Criminal Procedure Act or Enactment determines how an investigation is to be carried out. For example, SiHulk’s (deviant) teachings if he (‘Suhaini Muhammad’; the founder-preacher who is believed to be in New Zealand) physically spreads his deviant teachings in Gombak, so the prosecution is carried out in the Gombak Syariah Court where the offence was committed but if it happened online on social media where (are we) to determine the offence was committed.

"This is what needs to be discussed and if there is a lacuna (missing parts) in the Syariah Criminal Procedure Act or Enactment, then the act or enactment needs to be amended,” he said after officiating at the Conference on the Enforcement of Current Syariah Issues at the Federal Territory Level here today.

In addition, he said the government was considering a proposal to create a cadre of legal advisers at the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (JAWI) to strengthen the syariah law enforcement section of the agency.

Naim said that the positions, among other things, aim to provide appropriate and immediate legal advice to launch enforcement tasks and will meet with the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) and the Public Service Department (JPA) to discuss the matter.

"In JAWI, especially in the enforcement department, sometimes many controversial cases require an opinion from the AGC, now JAWI no longer has (a legal adviser) so it has to get that opinion from a legal adviser in the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (JAKIM) which is another agency or from AGC.

"... so the urgency to seek answers is time-consuming whereas it needs an immediate answer. In that context, JAWI hopes the position can be created so that if any issues arise, it can continue to give advice to JAWI and JAWI can act based on those views,” he said.

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Naim said he also expects the position(s) to be created next year.

Regarding the issue of a video of toy gun replicas in a school that went viral during the Palestine Solidarity Week, he said the school has to play a role by controlling the matter so that it would not be misunderstood and subsequently arouse inappropriate sentiments.

Earlier, Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek was reported to have said that her ministry is waiting for a full report on the issue and ordered a thorough investigation to be carried out on the matter. - BERNAMA