Zahid: Give right to Muslims to determine what they want

zahid-islamPUTRAJAYA: The government will not stray from its stand to uphold Islam in the country, says Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

“Do not say there seems to be dualism (civil and shariah) in our (judicial) system.

“Give the right to Muslims to determine what they want.

Zahid appeared to be referring to PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill that has again been deferred in Parliament.

Hadi had tabled a motion to raise the sentencing powers of shariah courts by at least tenfold. Discussion on the bill was deferred to the next parliamentary sitting.

The updated version now seeks to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 to increase the Islamic courts’ punishment limit to 30 years’ prison, a RM100,000 fine and 100 lashes of the cane.

The bill had previously sought to allow shariah courts to mete out any degree of punishment short of the death penalty.

On Nov 22, the government announced that a parliamentary committee, comprising Muslim and non-Muslim MPs, would be established to discuss issues arising from the amendments to the act.

Zahid also assured Malaysians that the government would respect the non-Muslims in the country, provided they gave room to Muslims to decide matters related to Islam.

“We will not go overboard. It will be within the agreed model. Do not be afraid of random interpretations. Seek an explanation first.”

Previously, Hadi, who is also Marang MP, urged non-Muslim politicians not to interfere in the motion, which he said involved only Muslims.