Friday, 18 April 2008

PGSM reply to "Kenyataan Media-Resolusi Seminar Semakan Korpus Undang-undang Islam"

Below is the reply from Hj Zainul, President of PGSM to my 11/4/2008 letter. I have taken the liberty of slightly modifying the formatting for easy reading.


P.S. Sisters In Islam statement on the issue (here also).


Answers provided by Hj Zainul, Presiden of PGSM
17 April 08

Hi Jason,
Very Good day to you Jason.

Thank you for your view posted in our blog. I must admit that I learned a lot and appreciate your view. Your argument manifests mature discussion and avoids unnecessary emotional arguments.

Yes, I do not subscribe to IKIM DG position. I was one of the panels involved in formulating the resolutions. I was there, the DG was not there but he denied it was a resolution. Even if he disagrees with the resolution he can say so but should not deny that it was one of the resolutions.

I am of the opinion that non-Muslims should not be prosecuted in Syariah Courts. They should also not be prosecuted in civil court if it is not an offence. On this score I agree with you, Jason.

Nevertheless, it should not be so if the act involves Muslims. (Please note that the resolutions passed not restricted to offence of khalwat only, there are other offences such as destroying or defiling place of worship (s11); Contempt of religious authority (s12), defiance of court order (s15) etc.) Khalwat is the only example picked up by the press.

When the act involves Muslims, then I think the non Muslim should also be punished in civil court for ‘encouraging’ , (bersubahat) and participating with the Muslims to commit Islamic offence. However, law has to be legislate for this to take effect. At present we can’t enforce it.

Section 31 of the Syariah Criminal Enactment provides for indecent acts in public places, if the acts were done by a Muslim with a non Muslim, the Muslim will be charged under section 31 but I think the non-Muslim should also be charged under the Penal Code as you suggested. Please again do not confine our argument to khalwat case only because the resolution did not confine to khalwat. The press is the one who highlighted khalwat.

It is the general policy of the nation that our citizens must respect the law. And we should not see law refers to Sivil law only. Law includes Islamic laws passed by relevant legislatives bodies. I cannot imagine if a non-Muslim work in concoction with a Muslim to defy Islamic laws. In this event, I believe that both of them must be punished.

You replied to my example on native law in Sabah. Yes there are filter / check and balance be written sanction by the DO. The same can apply here. The civil court can be better filter than the DO. That is the reason why I said it must be done in civil court. If I propose it to be done in syariah court, definitely most of the non-Muslims will disagree and will say the syariah court as bias. We have to draft the law carefully so as not to upset Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

As to the Rukun Negara, I am fully aware that the Rukun Negara has no legal force. I never say that Rukun Negara is a guiding principle when formulating laws that govern Malaysia as a whole. What I question is that why Tan Sri Ghazali Shafie formulated the Rukun Negara in 1969 and made it as a policy of the nation. Scrap it out if we do not give any value to it.

I cannot agree with you that morality is not the sole basis of laws. It is only one of the considerations when formulating laws. I must admit also that there are different moral standards among communities in Malaysia. I may propose that all the personal laws of other communities than the Muslim’s be recognized as laws. Should they infringe the personal law, they should be prosecuted according to their own personal law. I am ok with it.

Please do not fear Islamic law because if it being applies in its entirety- fairness will prevail. Islamic law will not be enforced to non Muslim. The problem in Malaysia is that the government picks and choose which Islamic law they want to enforce and which they want to disregard. This is the problem that we face.

Jason, if I may suggest you, please read the philosophy of Islamic laws especially the law relating to crime, burden of proof and independence of Islamic judiciary, you will appreciate further on the Islamic law.

On you request for reference where adultery is punished severely in other religion than Islam here are the reference (I also include the position in Islam):-

Approach not adultery: for it is a shameful deed and an evil, opening the road to other evils. 1. Islam. Qur'an 17.32

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for God will judge the immoral and the adulterous. 2. Christianity. Hebrews 13.4

We find that to every sin God is long-suffering, except to the sin of unchastity. Rabbi Azariah said, "All things can God overlook save lewdness." 3. Judaism. Midrash, Leviticus Rabbah 23.9

Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure man... has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 4. Christianity. Bible, Ephesians 5.5

Neither fornicate, for whosoever does that shall meet the price of sin--doubled shall be the chastisement for him on the Resurrection Day. 5. Islam. Qur'an 25.68-69

Violating and misusing love is the gravest of all crimes. Abusing love is a greater crime than cutting the universal root of life [murder]. 6. Unification Church . Sun Myung Moon, 3-20-77

Both learning and the practice of the Teaching are lost to him who is given to sexual intercourse. He employs himself wrongly. That is what is ignoble in him. 7. Buddhism. Sutta Nipata 815
Sutta Nipata 815: Cf. Sutra of Forty-two Sections 25, p. 929.

A wise man has nothing to do with lust. Lust is nothing but death, and lack of it is serenity. How can one who perceives this indulge in wanton behavior? 8. Jainism. Acarangasutra 2.61

Four misfortunes befall a careless man who commits adultery: acquisition of demerit, disturbed sleep, third, blame; and fourth, a state of woe. There is acquisition of demerit as well as evil destiny. Brief is the joy of the frightened man and woman. The king imposes a heavy punishment. Hence no man should frequent another man's wife. 9. Buddhism. Dhammapada 309-10

When a family declines, ancient traditions are destroyed. With them are lost the spiritual foundations for life, and the family loses its sense of unity. Where there is no sense of unity, the women of the family become corrupt; and with the corruption of its women, society is plunged into chaos. Social chaos is hell for the family and for those who have destroyed the family as well. 10. Hinduism. Bhagavad Gita 1.40-42

Immorality in the house is like a worm in the vegetables. 11. Judaism. Talmud, Sota 3b

Do not approach thy neighbor's wife or maids. 12. Taoism. Tract of the Quiet Way

Let those who cannot find a match keep chaste till God give them independence by His grace. 13. Islam. Qur'an 24.33

Whoever has illicit affairs with the wives of his relatives or friends, either by force or through mutual consent, he is to be known as an outcast. 14. Buddhism. Sutta Nipata 123

The philanderer lusting after numerous women does not give up seeking in others' homes. What he does daily only brings regrets-- In sorrow and greed he is shriveled up. 15. Sikhism. Adi Granth, Dhanasari, M.5, p. 672

A man should not think incontinently of another's wife, much less address her to that end; for such a man will be reborn in a future life as a creeping insect. He who commits adultery is punished both here and hereafter; for his days in this world are cut short, and when dead he falls into hell. 16. Hinduism. Vishnu Purana 3.11

The lips of a loose woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil;but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol;she does not take heed to the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it.... Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well.Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets?Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you.Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth,a lovely hind, a graceful doe. Let her affection fill you at all times with delight,be infatuated always by her love. Why should you be infatuated, my son, with a loose woman and embrace the bosom of an adventuress? For a man's ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he watches all his paths. The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is caught in the toils of his sin. He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is lost. 17. Judaism and Christianity. Proverbs 5.3-23

If you are handsome, do not go astray after lewdness, but honor your Creator, and fear Him, and praise Him with the beauty which He has given you. 18. Judaism. Pesikta Rabbati 127a

The body is not meant for immorality, but for the Lord... Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who joins himself a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, "The two shall become one flesh." But he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? 19. Christianity. 1 Corinthians 6.13-19________________________________________
1 Corinthians 6.13-19: Cf. 1 Corinthians 3.16-17, p. 211, on the sacredness of the human body as God's temple. Paul is quoting Genesis 2.24, p. 252. Vinaya Pitaka: The Vinaya Pitaka is the standard text of monastic discipline for Theravada monks.

Qur'an 24.30-32: Wearing the veil by Muslim women was instituted in the Qur'an as a practical protection against the temptation to adultery.

Offering presents to a woman, romping with her, touching her ornaments and dress, sitting with her on a bed, all these are considered adulterous acts. 20. Hinduism. Laws of Manu 8.357

A monk who, with sexual desire and a perverse intention, contacts a woman, holding her hand or holding a braid of her hair or rubbing against any part of her body, commits an offense, requiring formal meetings of the Order for its exoneration. 21. Buddhism. Vinaya Pitaka

Because the daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with outstretched necks,glancing wantonly with their eyes, mincing along as they go, tinkling with their feet; the Lord will smite with a scab the heads of the daughters of Zion ,and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts. 22. Judaism and Christianity. Isaiah 3.16-17

Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! God is Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands or fathers... or children who know naught of women's nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn unto God together, O believers, in order that ye may succeed. 23. Islam. Qur'an 24.30-32

A master has said, "He who beholds a beautiful woman should say, 'Blessed be He who hath created such in His universe.'" But is even mere looking permitted? The following can surely be raised as an objection: "Thou shalt keep from every evil thing" [Deuteronomy 23.10] implies that one should not look intently at a beautiful woman, even if she be unmarried, nor at a married woman, even if she be ugly, nor at a woman's gaudy garments, nor at male and female asses or at a pig and a sow or at fowls when they are mating. 24. Judaism. Talmud, Aboda Zara 20ab

The lawful thing which God hates most is divorce. 25. Islam. (Saying of Prophet Muhammad)Hadith of Abu Dawud Aboda Zarah 20ab: Cf. Treatise on Response and Retribution, p. 932. Hadith of Abu Dawud: The Islamic law on divorce is found in Qur'an 2.226-32.

There a waiting period of four months is prescribed, to allow the decision to be reconsidered. Malachi 2.14-16: Christian and Jewish marriage is not like a secular contract which can be annulled at will; it is a covenant to which God is witness and third partner. Laws of Manu 9.95, 101: Divorce is permitted, but it is not done by virtuous people. According to Narada Dharma Sutra 12.92-100 and Laws of Manu 9.76-81, a man may divorce his wife on the grounds of adultery, profligacy, procuring an abortion, drunkenness, malicious speech, or failure to produce a male heir. A woman may divorce her husband if he becomes a religious ascetic, is impotent, is expelled from his caste, or is long absent. A waiting period of one to eight years is normally required.

The Lord was witness to the covenant between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.... "For I hate divorce," says the Lord. 26. Judaism and Christianity. Malachi 2.14-16

The husband receives his wife from the gods; he does not wed her according to his own will; doing what is agreeable to the gods, he must always support her while she is faithful. "Let mutual fidelity continue until death;" this may be considered as a summary of the highest law for husband and wife. 27. Hinduism. Laws of Manu 9.95, 101

And Pharisees came up and in order to test him [Jesus] asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" He answered them, "What did Moses command you?" They said, "Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away." But Jesus said to them, "For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.' 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder." And in the house the disciples asked him about this matter. And he said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery." 28. Christianity. Mark 10.2-12 ________________________________________Mark 10.2-12: In the parallel attestation in Matthew 19.3-9, there is an exception for 'unchastity.' Current biblical scholarship does not see this exception as sanctioning divorce on the grounds of marital infidelity. 'Unchastity' is not the same word as adultery; it is thought to refer to the incestuous relations practiced by some pagans before their conversion to Christianity. Jesus is quoting Genesis 1.27, p. 282 and Genesis 2.24, p. 252. Lotus Sutra 14: The 'five kinds of unmanly men' includes homosexuals, hermaphrodites, eunuchs, and those suffering from various kinds of impotence. The Sangha did not want anyone to join the order as an escape; it likewise barred from membership debtors who wanted to renege on their debts and young novices who did not have their parents' permission. Qur'an 29.28-29: This passage refers to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah .

According to the Bible (Genesis 19.4-11), when two angels came to Lot's home to warn him of the city's impending destruction, the mob demanded that Lot give the men over to them, that they might rape and sodomize them. Lot defended them and offered his daughters instead; at which point the mob sought to lay hands on Lot , but the angels rescued him. Romans 1.26-27: The 'due penalty' probably refers to venereal disease.

In addition, there is the spiritual damage to the personality of one who engages in such behavior.You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. 29. Judaism and Christianity. Leviticus 18.22

The bodhisattva does not approach the five kinds of unmanly men in order to be friendly with or close to them. 30. Buddhism. Lotus Sutra 14 And Lot said to his people, "You commit lewdness, such as no people in creation ever committed before you. Do you indeed come in unto males?" 31. Islam. Qur'an 29.28-29

God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. 32. Christianity. Romans 1.26-27

Lastly, I hope my explanation above clarifies the issue.
May God bless us all.
Hj Zainul Rijal
President PGSM

p/s We don’t have the soft copy of all the resolutions. All of them are with IKIM. We will try to get it soon.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Kenyataan Media-Resolusi Seminar Semakan Korpus Undang-undang Islam


To: Presiden Persatuan Peguam Syarie Malaysia (PGSM) (

Kenyataan Media-Resolusi Seminar Semakan Korpus Undang-undang Islam

Dear Hj. Zainul,

Firstly, I do apologise for answering in English as your press statement is in BM and it would only be proper for me to comment in BM. However, my BM is not as fluent as it should be and I do hope you do not take offense to the form of this reply.

I take it first that you do not subscribe to the IKIM position (in their statement of 03/04/2008) that “The article in the STAR which reports that the seminar had proposed that non-Muslims caught committing khalwat with Muslims should also be sentenced accordingly but in the civil courts, is entirely erroneous. No such proposal was made, and therefore if what is reported in the Star as being comments allegedly made by Syariah Court of Appeal Judge, are also in error.

Admitting to a lack of flair for writing on my part, I will only comment on your press statement of 04/4/2008 paragraph by paragraph.

1. Resolusi yang dikeluarkan hasil Seminar Semakan Semula Korpus Undang-Undang Islam Di Malaysia: Keperluan Dan Cabaran antara lain telah mengutarakan cadangan supaya penglibatan secara bersama antara orang Islam dan bukan Islam dalam sesuatu kesalahan atau jenayah syariah hendaklah dihukum dengan hukuman yang setimpal. Cadangan ini jika dilaksanakan akan memberi kesan umpamanya dalam kes khalwat di mana salah seorang pasangannya adalah bukan Islam, maka dia juga hendaklah didakwa dan dijatuhi hukuman sekiranya disabitkan bersalah. Namun seminar berpandangan pendakwaan tersebut hendaklah dilakukan di mahkamah sivil.


You cannot prosecute a non-muslim in the civil courts for an offence which is an offence only in Syariah law and prosecutable only in the Syariah courts; not to mention that it is an offence if committed by Muslims only.

2. Golongan bukan Islam seperti Malaysian Consultative Council of Budhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Toaism serta beberapa NGO lain menentang keras cadangan ini dengan mengatakan undang-undang syariah tidak terpakai kepada orang bukan Islam dan menafikan hak orang bukan Islam itu sendiri.


I concur that Syariah laws cannot apply to non-Muslims.

3. Persatuan Peguam Syarie Malaysia (PGSM) menyokong sepenuhnya resolusi yang dibincangkan oleh pakar-pakar perundangan dan syariah tanah air. Pakar-pakar yang mahir dalam bidang masing-masing ini sudah tentulah mengambil kira semua sensitiviti dan kedudukan undang-undang sebelum menggarapnya sebagai cadangan.


This ASSUMES some sort of dialogue/consultation was conducted with the said consultative council and/or NGO. I unfortunately do not note any particular instance cited in the paragraph.

4. Sebenarnya tidak timbul isu mengenakan atau menguatkuasakan undang-undang syariah ke atas orang bukan Islam kerana pendakwaan akan dibuat di mahkamah sivil. Bukankan salah satu teras negara yang termaktub di dalam Rukun Negara ialah Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan? Oleh yang demikian undang-undang moral boleh digubal bagi menangani masalah moral masyarakat.


(a) Again, you cannot prosecute a non-Muslim in civil courts for an offence which is an offence only in the Syariah courts, or an offence which is against the moral percepts of Islam.

(b) The Rukunegara is not a guiding principle when formulating laws that govern Malaysia as whole. The Rukunegara is a “a guideline in the country’s nation-building efforts

(c) The Federal Constitution is the guideline for formulating laws in Malaysia - Article 4(1) “This Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation …”

(d) Morality is not the sole basis of laws.

(e) Nothing is said about differing moral standards/emphasis among the various communities in Malaysia.

5. Apakah kita lupa bahawa membina masyarakat bermoral dan berakhlak mulia merupakan prinsip asas kenegaraan ini? Lantaran jika kita ingin menghapuskan undang-undang moral maka prinsip kelima Rukun Negara ini pun hendaklah ditiadakan.


“Kesopanan dan kesusilaan” (Good Behaviour and Morality) can be achieved without the use of the law (punishement). In fact, it is better achieved when its percepts are internalised and acted on willingly in full understanding of its purpose; rather than by fear of punishment.

6. Jika kita menelusuri sejarah dan hakikat undang-undang jenayah pun kita akan dapati bahawa undang-undang jenayah ini sebenarnya berakar-umbi dari undang-undang mora. Undang-Undang sebenarnya bersandarkan moral manakala moral pula bersandarkan kepada agama. Umpamanya kesalahan membunuh secara tidak sah, sebelum ia memperundangkan atau ditaqninkan menjadi undang-undang jenayah, ia adalah kesalahan moral yang amat dibenci oleh masyarakat.


(a) Not all criminal laws are based on morality. And not all religions have same standards on morality.

(b) Murder is a good example for the proposition that murder is immoral, laws should be moral and therefore murder should be unlawful. This logic sequence works because murder by the moral standards of almost all religion (I do not presume to know of all religion) is immoral. However, ‘khalwat’ is not immoral for most of the non-Muslim citizens of Malaysia. They might agree that it is ‘not proper’ or shameful, but not immoral; and certainly not unlawful.

7. Secara hipotetikal pula, sekiranya undang-undang moral ini dihapuskan, apa yang akan berlaku jika terdapat orang yang melakukan perbuatan tidak senonoh di hadapan mata kita atau keluarga kita? Biarkan sahaja mereka dengan hak asasi mereka? Biarkan sahaja anak-anak kita menonton aksi tidak bermoral itu? Apa yang hendak kita lakukan dalam keadaan kita tidak mempunyai kuasa undang-undang untuk mencegahnya? Jika ia merujuk kepada isu hak asasi pelaku tersebut, bagaimana pula dengan hak asasi kita yang jijik terhadap perbuatan tersebut. Apakah hak kita untuk hidup dalam tenang tanpa melihat perbuatan seperti itu?


(a) In no way do I equate ability to be lewd in public with human rights.

(b) The Penal Code does provide for punishment for some lewd acts (“perbuatan tidak senonoh”). Please see sections 268 & 290-294 Penal Code.

(c) Khalwat that is done in private cannot logically be seen and therefore the question of it being ‘jijik’ to children does not arise; and if done in public, they would come under the offence of public nuisance. There is already protection under the law against such lewd acts and such laws applies to everyone in Malaysia, regardless of religion.

8. Jika kita bercakap tentang hak orang bukan Islam untuk melakukan khalwat, berzina dan sebagainya, adakah mereka ini mempunyai hak untuk melanggar undang-undang syariah? Sekiranya salah seorang pasangan adalah bukan Islam, maka adakah mereka mempunyai hak untuk berzina sehingga melahirkan anak-anak luar nikah tanpa didakwa? Malah dalam beberapa agama selain Islam juga telah meletakkan perzinaan adalah suatu kesalahan yang berat.


(a) Yes. Non-Muslims can go against Syariah laws because Syariah laws do not apply to non-Muslims. Non-Muslims can ‘berzina’ (commit adultery) and not be punished criminally for it because adultery is not a crime for non-Muslims. It is morally reprehensible, yes; but not a crime.

(b) If a Muslim & non-Muslim commit adultery and a child out-of-wedlock is born, it is not a crime. Granted, there will be administrative and social reprecussions (amongst other things), but it is not a crime under the general criminal law of Malaysia.

(c) May I have the reference where adultery is punished severely (criminally) in religions other than Islam? (“Malah dalam beberapa agama selain Islam juga telah meletakkan perzinaan adalah suatu kesalahan yang berat”)

9. Kenapa pula kita sering mengamalkan ‘double standard’ terhadap Islam? Apabila ia tidak berkaitan dengan Islam, kita amat mudah menerimanya tetapi tatkala nama Islam muncul maka kita resah, menentang dan menyangkal tanpa memberikan justifikasi yang adil terhadap Islam.


I apologise for being a broken record, but I have absolutely no problems with the Syariah being applicable and enforceable to Muslims. I am, as a non-Muslim, however concerned when Syariah laws are proposed to be applied to non-Muslims.

10. Umpamanya, sekiranya seorang rakyat Malaysia yang tinggal di Semenanjung pergi ke Sabah atau Sarawak dan di sana beliau telah melakukan suatu kesalahan yang melanggar undang-undang adat peribumi Sabah dan Sarawak. Orang ini akan tetap dihukum melalui undang-undang adat tersebut walaupun beliau berasal dari Semenanjung. Ini tidak bermakna kita menjadikan beliau sebagai peribumi Sabah dan Sarawak. Begitu juga perbandingannya bagi undang-undang Islam dalam aspek yang terlalu sedikit ini, tidak bermakna menjadikan mereka orang Islam.


(a) Your example of a non-native person breaching the native laws in Sabah and Sarawak and being subjected to those same laws is not on all fours with the issue at hand. Do permit me to comment as follows:-

(1) In Sabah, the governing provision is, I believe, Native Courts Enactment 1992,

(2) specifically, where one party is a native and another non-native, Section 6 (Jurisdiction of Native Courts) states that “(1) Every Native Court shall exercise original jurisdiction to the extent set forth and subject to the provisions to this Enactment to hear, try, determine and dispose of the following cases … (b) cases arising from breach of native law or custom, religious, matrimonial or sexual, if the written sanction of the District Officer acting on the advice of two Native Chiefs has been obtained to the institution of the proceedings, where one party is a non-native

(3) Section 6 thus preserves a form of filter/check & balance in the form of the written sanction of the District Officer where one party is a non-native before the native laws are applied to him/her.

(4) Your proposal of applying Syariah to non-Muslims proposes no such filter, and more importantly, goes against the tenor of the 9th Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

(b) I, unfortunately, am not able to comment on the Sarawak situation.

11. Pengenaan tindakan terhadap orang bukan Islam dalam hal yang berkaitan dengan orang Islam adalah kena pada masanya bagi mengelakkan keresahan di kalangan orang Islam sendiri. Ia sebenarnya tidak langsung memaksa orang bukan Islam menganut agama Islam. Malah ia selari dengan Rukun Negara menekankan peri pentingnya kesopanan dan kesusilaan disemat di dalam diri setiap warganegara Malaysia. Ia adalah jati diri rakyat Malaysia.


But you ARE in turn causing anxiety (“keresahan”) to non-Muslims by seeking to impose the Muslim standards on us. Non-Muslims may agree to many parts of the Syariah, but not to all of it. Khalwat is one area where there is, as is quite obvious from the opposition to its implementation on non-Muslims, disagreement.

12. Cadangan seminar ini juga tidak berkaitan dengan persoalan Perlembagaan kerana orang bukan Islam ini hanya akan didakwa di mahkamah sivil bukannya di mahkamah syariah.


But the proposal to apply Syariah laws, even in the civil courts, on non-Muslims automatically raises constitutional issues.

13. PGSM mendesak agar semua pihak berlaku adil dalam memberi pendapat dan tidak membuat serangan melulu tanpa justifikasi yang wajar terhadap Resolusi Seminar Penyemakan Korpus Undang-undang Islam yang telah diisytiharkan itu.


Could you please email me a full copy of the resolutions from the seminar?

Thank you.

Jason Kay

Sunday, 6 April 2008

IKIM-Khalwat issue

IKIM-Khalwat issue.

06th April, 2008

To: The Editor, The Star (

To: The Editor, Berita Harian (

Dear Sir,

IKIM “khalwat” reports


  1. On 04/4/2008, both your newspapers carried reports to the effect that Dato' Hj. Muhammad Asri bin Hj. Abdullah, the Syariah Court of Appeal Judge had stated that non-Muslims found committing “khalwat” (though this is not explicit in the Berita Harian report) should be prosecuted/punished accordingly.

  1. IKIM’s DG makes a statement that the comments reported in The Star allegedly made by the said Judge was in error.

  1. The Star then carried a report on 05/4/2008 implying that the said Judge did make the statement but that view is not shared by IKIM.

(relevant portions in the above reports/statement have been highlighted in green for easy reference)

To not belabour this point any further, could both of you answer these questions:-

  1. Did Dato' Hj. Muhammad Asri bin Hj. Abdullah in fact made the statement?

  1. If yes, did he make it in his personal or professional capacity? Did he make it officially at the conference?

I do hope you will agree that accurately reporting such statements (if made) is paramount.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Jason Kay

c.c. Ministry of Information (

c.c. IKIM (

c.c. Special Assistant to Hakim Rayuan Syariah III

c.c. webmaster (

Syor pinda lagi hukuman jenayah Syariah

Oleh Basir Zahrom

KUALA LUMPUR: Berikutan denda yang dikenakan Mahkamah Syariah dipandang ringan oleh umat Islam, Akta Mahkamah Syariah (Bidang Kuasa Jenayah) 1965 (pindaan) 1984 dicadang dipinda sekali lagi agar hukumannya ditambah.

Hakim Mahkamah Rayuan Syariah, Datuk Muhammad Asri Abdullah, berkata jika dulu denda sebanyak RM5,000 dilihat banyak dan membebankan untuk dilangsaikan, tetapi sekarang ia dianggap kecil.

"Disebabkan itu, umat Islam dilihat semakin leka dan melakukan banyak jenayah Syariah," katanya selepas menutup Seminar Semakan Semula Korpus Undang-undang Islam di Malaysia anjuran Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia (IKIM) di sini, semalam.

Muhammad Asri berkata, bagi pindaan dicadangkan itu, kesalahan di bawah bidang kuasa Mahkamah Rendah Syariah yang mengenakan denda RM3,000 dan lima tahun penjara dan enam kali sebatan dinaikkan kepada RM10,000 dan lima tahun penjara dan 12 sebatan.

Bagi Mahkamah Tinggi Syariah pula dicadangkan dinaikkan kepada RM20,000, 10 tahun penjara dan 24 sebatan, katanya.

Katanya, bagi kesalahan yang membabitkan secara bersama orang Islam dengan bukan Islam, mereka perlu dihukum secara setimpal.

Thursday April 3, 2008

Proposal to prosecute non-Muslims for khalwat


KUALA LUMPUR: A seminar on Syariah Law review wants non-Muslims found committing khalwat (close proximity) with Muslims to also be held liable.

This was among the proposals made at the two-day seminar organised by the Islamic Institute of Understanding Malaysia (Ikim) and the Syariah Judiciary Department Malaysia.

Syariah Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Mohd Asri Abdullah said the seminar had proposed that non-Muslims committing khalwat with Muslims should also be sentenced accordingly, but in the civil courts.

"We don't have the jurisdiction to sentence non-Muslims committing khalwat with Muslims," he told reporters after closing the seminar on behalf of department director-general Datuk Ibrahim Lembut at Ikim here today.

"The Muslims can be sentenced in Syariah courts, and the non-Muslim partners can probably be sentenced in the civil courts, to be fair to both parties."

He said the proposal, contained in a draft resolution at the seminar, would be forwarded to the Attorney-General's Chambers.

"It is up to the Attorney-General's Chambers or the relevant authorities to decide how to create such a law," he said.

However, he declined to elaborate when the proposal would be forwarded to the Government.

Another proposal is to impose heftier penalties – of up to four times the current penalties – on Muslims caught for khalwat, prostitution, consuming alcohol and involvement in gambling activities.

Mohd Asri said Ikim and the department were proposing that the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Amendment) 1984 be amended to impose stiffer penalties of RM1,000 fine, or five years' jail or 12 strokes of the rotan for Syariah Lower Courts and RM20,000 fine, or 10 years' jail or 24 strokes of rotan for Syariah High Courts.

Current limits are a maximum of three years' jail, or RM5,000 fine, or up to six lashes or any combination of these, and different states provide different penalties for these offences.

"This has not been reviewed since 1984. It has been more than 20 years," said Mohd Asri.

There was also a proposal for Syariah judges to enforce whipping for these offences.

Another proposal calls for the establishment of a rehabilitation centre for those convicted of offences related to morals and faith such as prostitution and effeminate men, and enforcement of Section 54 of the Syariah Criminal Offences Act (Act 559) to set up such centres.

The seminar also agreed to a suggestion that a new provision be created for apostates.

Wednesday April 2, 2008

Proposal to punish non-Muslims for khalwat


KUALA LUMPUR: Non-Muslims committing khalwat (close proximity) with Muslims should also be held liable for the crime, two Islamic bodies have proposed in a resolution to be sent to the Attorney-General's Chambers.

The Islamic Institute of Understanding Malaysia (Ikim) and Syariah Judiciary Department Malaysia said non-Muslims found committing khalwat with Muslims should also be sentenced, perhaps in the civil courts.

"Muslims are sentenced in Syariah courts ... but we don't have the jurisdiction to sentence non-Muslims," Syariah Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Mohd Asri Abdullah said at a seminar on reviewing Syariah laws organised by Ikim and the department.

"Their non-Muslim partners can probably be sentenced in the civil courts, to be fair to both parties," he told reporters after closing the two-day seminar on Wednesday.

He said the proposal, contained in a draft resolution from the seminar's findings, would be forwarded to the Attorney-General's Chambers (AG's Chambers).

"It is up to the AG's Chambers or the relevant authorities to decide how to create such law," he said, declining to say when the proposal would be made to the Government.

The two bodies have also proposed stiffer penalties for Muslims caught in such offences as khalwat, prostitution, alcohol consumption and gambling.

Statement by the Director-General of IKIM

03/04/2008 |

I would like to refer to the article on page 3 in the Tuesday, April 3 2008 edition of The STAR in which the headlines read "Proposal to prosecute non-Muslims for khalwat". I feel it incumbent to clarify certain matters highlighted in the aforementioned article, the contents of which are contentious to say the least.

First of all, IKIM's objectives for the 2 day seminar held in collaboration with the Syariah Judiciary Department Malaysia (JKSM) was intended to review existing syariah laws to see if there were any laws that were redundant and also to propose a solution to some of the issues currently plaguing the syariah judiciary system in Malaysia.

The article in the STAR which reports that the seminar had proposed that non-Muslims caught committing khalwat with Muslims should also be sentenced accordingly but in the civil courts, is entirely erroneous. No such proposal was made, and therefore if what is reported in the Star as being comments allegedly made by Syariah Court of Appeal Judge, are also in error.

Conversely, it is our opinion that non-Muslims cannot fundamentally be charged under any provision in Islamic law by virtue of the fact that they do not profess the religion of Islam. In addition, to my knowledge, there is no such provision in the civil courts to charge a person for khalwat, and therefore it would be premature to assume that non-Muslims can also be subjected to the charge of khalwat in the civil courts.

I am disappointed with the article highlighting comments allegedly made by Datuk Mohd. Asri Abdullah which emphasized the banal, when in reality the more important substantive proposals having to do with laws protecting the rights of divorced women and their rights to maintenance, were ignored.

Towards the end of the article, it also alleges that there was a proposal calling "for the establishment of a rehabilitation center for those convicted of offences related to morals and faith such as prostitution and effeminate men". To my knowledge, I have never interpreted being effeminate as an offence. But more importantly this so called proposal as reflected in the article is not representative of the proposals made during the seminar at IKIM. If indeed the learned Syariah Court of Appeal Judge made those statements, we strongly advise that it would behoove the learned Judge to be more circumspect in future.

Saturday April 5, 2008

We don't support judge's khalwat proposal, says Ikim

KUALA LUMPUR: Syariah Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Mohd Asri Abdullah's statement on the proposal to make non-Muslims found committing khalwat with Muslims liable is not the view of the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (Ikim), its director-general Dr Syed Ali Tawfik Al-Attas said.

Responding to Mohd Asri's statement that this was one of the proposals made at a seminar organised by Ikim and the Syariah Judiciary Department Malaysia, Dr Syed Ali said Ikim would never support such a call, as it was impossible to apply Syariah laws to non-Muslims.

Saying that it was erroneous, he said it should not be construed as a stand shared by Ikim.

He said he should have been asked for his opinion by the media as he was the only spokesman of Ikim.

Dr Syed Ali said there was no such proposal nor was the word khalwat used at the seminar but only open discussions by the participants.

He said the judge could have been giving his personal opinion.

"Because of the statement, our close friendship and important association with non-Muslim groups are now in jeopardy," he said.

The newspaper article, he said, had resulted in Ikim being labelled "crazy Muslims" and fanatical by some people on the Internet. The purpose of the seminar, he said, was because the Syariah court, just like the civil ones, was having a crisis.

He said it was to highlight the judicial crisis, identify and resolve the problems, adding that the statement by Mohd Asri showed there was clearly a judicial crisis.

Dr Syed Ali said khalwat meant that the couple caught committing it should "have no space between them or were joined together" therefore proving khalwat was almost impossible.

"Therefore, this issue of khalwat is not important. What is more important is, we now have judges who are more literal than wise; looking at the letter of the law rather than using their own judgment.

"The purpose of the Ikim seminar is precisely that: to find out where the faults are," he said.