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Judicial CP - December 1996

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The Straits Times, Singapore, 6 December 1996

Penang amends Syariah laws with stiffer penalties

PENANG -- The Penang State Assembly has adopted stiffer penalties, including caning, against Muslims for criminal offences under amendments to the Syariah laws.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Mohd Shariff Omar, in moving amendments to current legislation, said they would make the laws more comprehensive to suit changing times.

"The law will apply to all Muslims, regardless of whether they are locals or from Bangladesh, Pakistan or Indonesia," he said when tabling the amendments to the Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment 1996 at the State Assembly sitting. The assembly later approved the Bill unanimously.

Mr Mohd Shariff, who is the State Religious Affairs Committee chairman, described the present penalties as not reflecting the seriousness of the offences. He said caning would be imposed for criminal offences including prostitution, incest, zina (adultery), pimping and homosexual activities.

With the amendments, the penalties for various offences include:

Khalwat (close proximity) offenders can be fined up to M$3,000 (S$1,650) or jailed not more than two years or both.

Under present legislation, offenders face a M$200 fine and a jail term not exceeding two months;

Those caught eating, drinking and smoking during the fasting month can be fined up to M$1,000 or jailed not more than six months or both. For subsequent offences, they can be fined up to M$2,000 or jailed not more than a year;

Currently, offenders are fined M$25 for such offences; Prostitution -- offenders can be fined up to M$5,000 or jailed not more than three years or caned not more than six strokes or any of the above, and transvestites can be fined up to M$1,000 or jailed not more than a year or both. During debate on the measures, Mr Mohd Shariff, admitted that their effectiveness depended on enforcement.

He said the state government had already submitted an application to the Public Services Department for the State Religious Department to employ an additional 12 enforcement staff.

Corpun file 0520 at


The Star, Kuala Lumpur, 10 December 1996


Members to debate new Bill on illegal aliens

KUALA LUMPUR: The long-awaited Immigration (Amendment) Bill which seeks to increase penalties for various offences including the hiring of illegal foreign workers will be debated during this meeting.

Heavier fines, increased jail terms and whipping would be introduced under the Bill.

Save for procedural compliance, the amendments would also exclude judicial review for the decision of the Home Minister and the Immigration director-general.

Under the Bill tabled for first reading recently, a person convicted of employing an illegal foreign worker would be liable to a fine of not less than RM10,000 but not more than RM50,000 for each worker.

Those who employ more than five illegal workers may also face a jail term of between six months and five years.

In the case of those caught "conveying a person to Malaysia" (smuggling illegals), they would be liable to a fine of not less than RM10,000 and not more than RM50,000 and a jail term of between two and five years. They would also be whipped not more than six times.

A corporate body that commits the same offence, which comes under the new Section 55A of the Bill, would also be liable to a fine of not less than RM30,000 but not more than RM100,000.

Any person who at the time of the offence was a member of the board of directors, a secretary or manager of the corporation would also be subjected to the same fine.

They would also face jail terms of a minimum two years and a maximum ten years as well as whipping of not more than six strokes.

Under Clause 13 of the Bill, a person caught harbouring illegal aliens would also be liable for the expenses of deporting the foreigner and would have to reimburse the Government for the expenses of detaining the foreigner.

Those convicted of making, forging or altering a visa, permit, pass or certificate would face a fine of between RM30,000 and RM100,000.

They would also be imprisoned for not less than five years but not more than ten years as well as be whipped not more than six times.

Section 36 of the principal Act would also be amended to ensure illegal aliens who unlawfully return to Malaysia liable for a maximum fine of RM10,000 or imprisonment of not more than ten years or both and be also subjected to whipping of not more than six strokes.

Under Clause 19, judicial review would be excluded for the actions and decisions made by the minister or the director-general except for procedural compliance.

Copyright © 1996 Star Publications (M) Bhd. All rights reserved

Corpun file 0541 at


Borneo Bulletin, Brunei, 20 December 1996

Life sentence man seeks clemency

By George Francis

The Sarawak Pardons Board has been urged to consider an application for clemency due to manifest injustice of imposing a natural life imprisonment on a juvenile for armed robbery.

Now 32 years old, Tawang anak Jamal in 1981 was only 17 when he together with two other teenagers (then 16 and 15), during a school holiday committed a robbery of cash RM194 (B$107) and a wrist watch valued RM70 (B$39) at Bukit Song, Miri Bintulu Road.

During the offence, Tawang carried a shotgun belonging to his father which was not loaded.

They were charged with an offence under Section 5 of the Fire Arms (Increased Penalties) Act,1971.

This was the first and only time in which the prosecution has resorted to this section in Sarawak.

The penalty under this section is natural life imprisonment. In all other cases, the term "life imprisonment" means imprisonment for 20 years.

As a petitioner, Tawang asked for clemency from the board six months ago for commuting the prison sentence to "one of time already served" so that he could assist in taking care of his aged parents through gainful employment upon his release.

Recently, his parents also sought the assistance of Lambir Assemblyman Aidan Wing to expedite the petition with the Pardons Board to review the case.

His father Jamal, 66 who was once a private with then renowned Sarawak Rangers fighting communists in Malaya between 1953 to 1955, believed that the sentence imposed was too harsh on a juvenile.

Miri Sessions Court convicted Tawang, unrepresented by counsel, then a Form 1 student of SMK Datuk Permaisure Miri, to life imprisonment with 6 strokes of whipping which had been carried out by prison authorities.

The two juveniles however, had their sentence quashed on technical grounds.

According to the petition through lawyer A L Bong, the rationale behind the Fire Arms (Increased Penalties) Act, 1971 was to deal with communists and other subversive elements in the country.

Tawang has served more than 15 years of imprisonment, which taking into account the usual 1/3 remissions for good behaviour, means that it is an equivalent to about 24 years' jail.

In other armed robbery cases, the prosecution have always resorted to the Penal Code in which the sentences imposed are not for the duration of the natural life of the offender.

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