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Punishment for syariah crime to be increased?

PUTRAJAYA, 23 April 2009: The punishment for syariah crimes, including whipping, may be increased to curb the rise in such offences in the country.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Maj-Gen (R) Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom said the common perception now was that the penalties imposed by the syariah courts were far too light, mostly with fines only.

He said the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Act 1965 also capped the punishment for syariah crimes at whipping of not more than six lashes, a fine of not more than RM5,000 and jail term not exceeding three years.

Hence, he said, the Syariah and Civil Law Technical Committee of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) would scrutinise several working papers and proposals on the matter.

“Our next move would depend on the suggestions from the committee. We will wait for their advice (whether to increase the punishment),” he told reporters after opening a seminar on whipping for syariah crimes at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre here today.

About 100 people including syarie judges and prosecutors, Prison Department personnel, police, lawyers, Islamic religious enforcement officers and academicians participated in the one-day seminar.

Jamil Khir said that although whipping was allowed by the syariah law, it was hardly imposed and the implementation was still questionable.

“So our target is that when the community, Islamic scholars, law practitioners, prison, police, civil courts and other related parties finally come to a consensus, we will increase the punishment,” he added. — Bernama


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