Tuesday, February 4, 2014

MM: Brunei's Syariah law for all

Expats, non-Muslims in Brunei would be punished for certain offences under new Syariah law

PETALING JAYA: THE new Syariah Penal Code Order that affects Brunei citizens will also include foreigners and members of the diplomatic corps in certain offences.
A briefing by the attorney general's (AG) chambers assistant solicitor-general Mohd Yusree Junaidi said although majority of the laws applied to Muslims, the legislation covered everyone in Brunei.
Local daily The Brunei Times, had on Friday reported, non-Muslims could be prosecuted under Syariah law for certain offences, such as committing adultery with a Muslim, consuming alcoholic beverages in public places and to propagate other beliefs besides Islam to Muslims and to non-believers.
Non-Muslims could also be prosecuted for using traditional Islamic phrases such as “Assalamualaikum” or “insyaAllah” in a publication or public assembly, Mohd Yusree said.
If found guilty, offenders would face fines up to B$12,000 (RM31,465) and/or up to three years imprisonment.
Mohd Yusree, however, assured one had the right to practise their own religion under the Brunei constitution.
Foreigners, however, were urged to use their common sense and dress accordingly and modestly to cultural norms.
Expats voiced their concerns, hoping for more information over the new Syariah Order.Responding to this, the Brunei authorities will make public relevant information to foreign missions in the Sultanate.
Members of the public could access the legislation on the AG's website.As for offences which carry the 'hadd' punishment — including amputation, stoning and the death penalty — Mohd Yusree said there must be no room for doubt and that concrete proof was required.
The report also said criminal cases would still be probed by police before investigations papers were passed to the AG for prosecution in either the civil or Syariah courts.
The Syariah courts would also have criminal jurisdiction on offences committed by Brunei citizens or permanent residents abroad.Mohd Yusree said it would be difficult to conduct investigations in another country and a confession by the accused would be required to be prosecuted under Syariah law.
The briefing on the new Syariah legislation was made at the International Convention Centre before foreign diplomats last Thursday.

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