02 March 2017
The proposed changes to Malaysia’s Criminal Jurisdiction Act 1965 – also known as Act 355 – seek to raise the penalties for certain crimes under Shariah jurisdiction. The move has provoked strong public reaction, as seen in two rallies on 18 February 2017. The controversy demonstrates a nation still divided over race and religion amid a looming general election.
The recent rallies on 18 February 2017 both in support and in opposition to a bill to amend the Criminal Jurisdiction Act 1965, known as RUU 355, has opened another political and social schism in Malaysian society. The RUU355 move began as PAS President Hadi Awang’s Private Member’s Bill that seeks to raise the penalties for certain crimes under the jurisdiction of Shariah courts in Malaysia.
Public opinion appears muddled on the issue, as the continued politicisation of religion takes precedence over religious debate on the matter. Some see the bill as a potential backdoor for the entry of hudud laws into the country. PAS held a rally that drew a reported 20,000 people, while a counter rally organised by the NGO BEBAS drew a much more modest crowd of around 200 individuals.
… Rashaad Ali is a research analyst with the Malaysia Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 06/03/2017