Shariah laws only affect Muslims, says NGO

Centhra says shariah laws will only affect Muslims in the country. (Reuters pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra) yesterday maintained that shariah laws, particularly amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) 1965 Act (RUU355), will only affect Muslims and have nothing to do with non-Muslims.

Its chief executive Azril Mohd Amin said the matter was clearly stated in item 1 of List II of the Ninth Schedule which provides that shariah courts, which are the subject of RUU355, have jurisdiction only over Muslims.

He also disputed the view of PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, who had said that non-Muslims have the right to participate in debates on laws, including those that indirectly affect them like the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) amendment bill.

“We in Centhra have always maintained that shariah laws, in particular RUU355, will only affect Muslims and have nothing to do with non-Muslims,” he said.

Azril also disagreed with Anwar that RUU335 was merely the interpretation of PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang.

“This is not so, as the jurisdiction of courts has always been increased as a matter of routine. The jurisdiction of the courts was last increased in 1984, and the civil courts also had their jurisdictions enhanced in 2010,” he said.