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Judicial CP - November 1999

Corpun file 4968


New Straits Times, Kuala Lumpur, 23 November 1999

Unrepentant thief jailed for 11th offence

MALACCA, Mon. - He has 10 previous convictions for theft ... but he still has not learnt his lesson.

Mohamad Azry Tol Hadi, 34, who is unemployed, was today sentenced by the magistrate's court to four years' jail and three strokes of the rotan for his 11th offence.

He pleaded guilty before magistrate Musalmah Mustafa to stealing 22 'Aquafresh' toothbrushes worth RM107.80.

Mohamad Azry, of Taman Melaka Baru, Batu Berendam, admitted stealing them from the Ocean Supermarket in Jalan Hang Tuah about noon on Sept 19.

Prosecuting officer Chief Inspector Yunus Abdul Aziz pressed for a deterrent sentence as Mohamad Azry was a repeat offender.

Mohamad Azry was unrepresented.

© Copyright 1999, The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad. All Rights Reserved.

Corpun file 4974


New Straits Times, Kuala Lumpur, 24 November 1999

News Analysis

Need to consider what in hudud law is applicable in the present day

By Ramlan Said

KELANTAN Menteri Besar [State Premier] and Pas [Islamic party] stalwart Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat has said time and again that his party's goal is to implement the hudud law.

His latest statement on the issue was made to news agency Agence France-Presse. He had said that he would impose strict Islamic law if Pas wins Kelantan for the third term.

He told the agency that the Malaysian Government hanged a person for dadah offences, while under hudud the punishment was to cut off the hand.

The AFP interview said nothing of murder, adultery and other serious crimes where punishments meted out under hudud law were severe.

Syariah criminal law encompasses hudud, qisas and taqzir offences and their punishments. However, the most contentious of these are the hudud punishments.

In the early 1990s, the DAP, Pas' strange bedfellow in the Alternative Front's marriage of convenience in this general election, opposed the imposition of Muslim law against non-Muslims in any State "including hudud which carries penalties of limb-chopping, whipping and stoning", saying it was against the Federal Constitution.

Nik Aziz's latest statement on the matter would probably again cause consternation to the DAP and its supporters.

But what is the opinion of Muslim scholars on the implementation of hudud law?

The full implementation of hudud law is only feasible in an Islamic State with an Islamic constitution and system of government, said Prof Datuk Mahmood Zuhdi Abdul Majid, director of Universiti Malaya's Academy of Islamic Studies.

As for Malaysia, he added, it was still considered a secular State although Islam was its official religion.

However, the definition of an Islamic State differs from one Muslim scholar to another, according to Datuk Dr Abdul Monir Yaacob, the assistant director-general of the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia.

To some scholars, the minimum requirements for a country to be considered an Islamic State are that it was at one time recognised as a Muslim State although it had undergone colonisation, where Muslims can freely perform their obligations and live in peace and harmony, where the Islamic features are evident and where the head of government is a Muslim.

Mahmood, who sits on the Kelantan Syariah Appeals Court, said as an academician, he did not wish to join the political fray. His intent was simply to state the facts.

With regard to dadah offences, he said they did come under hudud but under hukum taqzir, the punishment for which was up to the discretion of the government of the day.

The offences punishable under hudud law are theft, robbery, consumption of alcohol, zina (adultery), falsely accusing another of adultery, and murtad (apostasy).

Punishments range from caning, cutting off a limb to stoning to death, depending on the crime.

These offences under the hudud concept are considered to be challenging the survival of the ummah.

Causing grievous hurt and murder is punishable under hukum qisas, the punishment for which can be reciprocal (an eye for an eye) or compensatory, which can be in monetary terms (when the crime is pardoned by the family of the victim).

There are five basic requirements for society's survival under the hudud concept - religion, life, rational thinking, property/wealth and dignity.

Monir is concerned about people trying to mislead the public on hudud.

He said all the injunctions laid down in the Quran and Hadith (Prophet's sayings) are hudud. But some individuals tend to refer to hudud from the point of criminal law.

"Hudud means limitations, that is, you are able to perform your religious duties according to the limitations.

"Hudud is just a small part of Islamic criminal law and Islamic jurisprudence.

"It doesn't mean that if you don't implement hudud law, you are not implementing Islamic law.

"Similarly, if you only implement hudud law and disregard other aspects of Islamic law, it does not mean that you are implementing true Islamic law.

"Islam is not just about hudud. It encompasses so many aspects from marriage, property inheritance and division, to Islamic banking and finance.

"Therefore, people should not make misleading statements about hudud that will cause fear and confusion."

Some scholars also dispute the death penalty for apostasy under hudud law including the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Islam's oldest university.

They are of the opinion that mere conversion to another religion does not entail the death penalty under hudud as there are other considerations, for example, the conversion does not cause harm to the community and the person involved does not influence others to change their religion.

Even sebat (caning) under hudud law is not the kind of skin-breaking, blood-letting with just one lash of the rotan that our prisoners get.

Monir said before hudud law could be implemented, a careful and indepth study must be carried out. The opinions of all the jurists must be considered before deciding wisely what is applicable for the present day.

© Copyright 1999, The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad. All Rights Reserved.

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