PETALING JAYA: Although the bills to strengthen shariah courts have yet to be debated in Parliament, the PAS-led Kelantan government has already set aside RM2.3 million to implement related enactments.
Kelantan Menteri Besar Ahmad Yakob has declared a RM1 million allocation for infrastructure and RM1.3 million for a new shariah prosecution department, Sinar Harian Online reported.
Ahmad made the announcement when presenting the state’s 2017 budget themed “Kelantan is harmonious for Islam”.
“This is a first to be implemented in Malaysia and God willing, after this we will see a division of shariah law enforcement under Jaheik so that it can become a separate entity,” the Malay-language portal quoted him as saying.
Jaheik is the acronym for the Kelantan Islamic Affairs Department.
This follows the Private Member’s Bill pushed in the Dewan Rakyat by PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang to see punishments for certain shariah offences increased.
Detractors argue however, that the bill is meant to pave the way for hudud to be implemented in Kelantan. Hudud is a term used in shariah law to describe punishment for crimes including theft, fornication, adultery, alcohol consumption and apostasy.
The Kelantan State Assembly had in March last year unanimously passed amendments to the Shariah Criminal Code II 1993 which is better known as the hudud, qisas and takzir laws .
It had not been implemented for over two decades due to legal constraints, especially relating to a conflict with the Federal Constitution on jurisdiction over criminal offences.
Following the contentious bill being lined up for tabling in Parliament by PAS, its splinter party, Amanah, announced it would table its own amendments to strengthen shariah courts.
Last week, Putrajaya said it might table its own bill to widen the powers of shariah courts and was currently studying such a plan to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) (Act 355), which currently limits punishments meted out on shariah offenders to three years’ jail, six strokes of whipping and RM5,000 fine.