Ammendment to Act 355: What do they want from muslims?


Lately there has been a wave of “threats” to resign from non-Muslim members of parliament as a form of opposition towards the private members bill tabled by Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi. The Marang member of parliament tabled the bill and on the same day postponed it to be debated in the next seating some time in October. This bill is to enhance the maximum sentence(s) that can be carried out by the syariah court(s).

As we are aware, syariah courts are only for the affairs of Muslims. It does not concern any non-Muslim individual. When something is not your concern legally, then your right to talk, debate, discuss, intervene, interfere, object etc. is just not there. You can’t interfere in the matter of Muslims, just like Muslims do not interfere and determine how non-Muslims should carry out their religious practices.

The interference in the syariah court by anyone other than a Muslim is a kin to interference in the religion of Islam itself. The syariah courts of the states with Sultans are under the jurisdiction of the Sultans. However the maximum punishments that can be carried out by the syariah courts are a federal issue. When a bill is tabled to increase the maximum penalties under the syariah court, these rulings are not a concern for any non-Muslim.

These penalties have remained the same from many decades and require change in order to be relevant as penalties in modern times. An increment in the maximum fines, number of lashes, prison sentence are among other the issues that need attention. In an article dated 29 May 2016, Wong Chun Wai headlined “Let not the first brick be laid” (link

The question is the first brick of what?

Islam is embedded in the constitution as the religion of the federation in article (1) and as the religion for every state except Sarawak. For every state with a Sultan, any issues pertaining Islam, syariah courts, Islamic religious councils falls under the Sultan(s), and for countries without Sultan(s) the Islamics affairs fall under the Yang Di-pertuan Agung as mentioned in the constitution, (3) the Constitution of the States of Malacca, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak shall each make provision for conferring on the yang di-pertuan Agong the position of head of the religion of islam in that State.

Hence there is no room for non-Muslim interference in matters pertaining Islam. One particular scenario was Dr. Zakir Naik’s arrival in Malaysia for a series of lectures was condemned and opposed by the same characters who opposed this private bill.

These people (politicians) mentioned that Zakir Naik is not supposed quote their religious scriptures, if we take that point then what right do the very same people have to interfere in matters pertaining Islam? If Muslims can not quote their religious scriptures then what right does one have to intervene dan determine how Islam should be practiced.

The same people who opposed Zakir Naik now oppose the amendment to Act 355. This begs a question, what do they want from the Muslims? We should leave our divinity and follow the rest, just because the others think they are right. Thinking you are right does not make you right.

The basis of being right has to be established before making a claim. Only HE determines what is good and what is bad, what we should do, and what we should not do, no human should interfere in these issues. Carrying out punishments is divine for Muslims, any interference will not be of any good, anyone opposing Islam in Malaysia is free to suit themselves.

Rehan Ahmad Bin Jamaluddin Ahmad
President, Intellectual Wisdom Society

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of, and should not be attributed to, Isma or Ismaweb.



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