‘Syariah issue cannot be rushed’

KUALA LUMPUR: There is no rush to amend the Federal Constitution to allow states to enact syariah criminal laws, says Datuk Dr Mohd Na’im Mokhtar.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) said the government took note of a proposal to amend the Constitution to give clear powers to the states to enact their own syariah criminal laws.

However, a comprehensive study is needed, he said.

“In this regard, any proposals regarding this matter cannot be rushed.

“In-depth and comprehensive studies must be conducted to ensure that any decisions made are precise, legally sound and defensible if challenged in court later,” he said in a written reply in response to a question from Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang (PN–Marang) in the Dewan Rakyat here yesterday.

Abdul Hadi, who is also PAS president, had asked if the government was prepared to amend the Federal Constitution to “safeguard the rights of states to enact their own syariah criminal laws.”

Mohd Na’im said the special committee on the competence of state assemblies in enacting Islamic laws would examine and fine-tune the matter.

“I believe that the study being conducted by the committee will help find the best and most harmonious solution to address issues regarding the competency of state assemblies to enact syariah laws and the jurisdiction of the syariah courts as provided under Item 1, State List II-Ninth Schedule of the Constitution,” said the minister.

“Any proposals, views and suggestions presented by the special committee, including amendments to any laws or the Constitution, will be thoroughly examined to ensure that the best solution is brought forward to the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs and the Conference of Rulers in the future.”

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