Crime only a part of shariah, says ex-judge

Ismail-Yahya-syariahKUALA LUMPUR: Former sharie judge Ismail Yahya has criticised supporters of PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill for apparently recognising only one of the many branches of the shariah.

“Why is it that they are focusing only criminal law?” he asked during a forum on the bill to amend the Shariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act of 1965.

The bill, which seeks to strengthen the shariah courts, proposes raising maximum penalties to 30 years’ imprisonment, a RM100,000 fine and 100 lashes of the cane.

Ismail said the shariah encompassed several aspects of life and he listed the following: ibadah (worship), marriage, muamalat (rules relating to worldly matters such as business, trading and commerce), rulings, crime, international relations and akhlaq (ethics).

He cited muamalat as one of the branches that could see improvement.

“We like to say our Islamic banking is top notch, but the truth is all we’ve done is take conventional banking and used Islamic terms,” he said. “Why not focus on this? We’ve completely neglected this and gone straight to the branch of crime.”

He said supporters of Hadi’s bill needed to realise that there were other ways the shariah courts could be empowered.

“Ask yourselves: Is increasing punishments for crime the only way to empower shariah courts? Is justice truly served in shariah courts? Ask the women if they think the courts are just and they will tell you they aren’t.”