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Sunday, August 07, 2011

Is Pakatan Rakyat to blame for an enactment passed in 1988?

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It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who was in charge in Selangor in 1988. Yes, there are already laws on the books allowing the religious authorities to act on non-Muslims, as JAIS did when it raided the DUMC earlier this week.

That said, there must clearly have been an "offence" committed before they can act, and evidence thus far points to the fact that none could conclusively proven to have been committed.

As pointed out in the article below, there are a few other Islamic "criminal" enactments, all passed before 2008.

Bottom line, do we blame Pakatan for DUMC when these laws were already on the books well before they took charge?

1988 state law allows Jais to act against non-Muslims

The Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) had likely acted within the law when it raided a church here, as a controversial enactment passed by a Barisan Nasional (BN) state government in 1988 allows action against non-Muslims.

Malaysian Bar Council chief Lim Chee Wee pointed out, however, their being empowered also meant the religious authorities can only act within the confines of the Islamic laws, highlighting that the words allegedly said to prove Christians were proselytising to Muslims at the event — “Quran” and “Pray” — did not fall within the religious enforcement’s context.

“Whilst Jais may have the legal power to enter the premises, it must do so on a proper legal basis that there has been an offence committed. From the presently available facts, there is no basis for its intrusion,” he told The Malaysian Insider in an email.

Lim said there were four existing state Islamic legislation that give the authorities wide powers to act on religious matters, namely:

•  Enakmen Jenayah Syariah (Selangor) 1995 (“Enakmen Jenayah”);

•  Enakmen Ugama Bukan Islam (Kawalan Pengembangan di Kalangan Orang Islam) 1988 (“Enakmen Ugama Bukan Islam”);

•  Administration of the Religion of Islam (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003; and

•  Syariah Criminal Procedure (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003.

Selangor’s Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Amongst Muslims) Enactment, which outlines offences deemed as acts of proselytisation by non-Muslims towards Muslims, grants the religious authorities powers to launch investigations and arrest individuals without producing a warrant.