On 1 December, the Terengganu state government passed the Shariah Criminal Offences (Takzir)(Amendment) Enactment 2022 to fortify the implementation of Syariah law in the state.
Among the amendments included Section 3A (witchcraft and black magic), Section 33A (women acting like men), Section 36A (preparation for sodomy), and Section 29A (pregnant or giving birth to a child out of wedlock).
According to Sinar Harian, State Syariah Implementation, Education and Higher Education committee chairperson Satiful Bahri Mamat said these amendments were introduced to reinforce existing punishments under the Federal Act 355 (Syariah Courts Criminal Jurisdiction Act).
Following this amendment, Syariah courts would be given the authority to mete out maximum prison sentences of not more than 3 years, fines not exceeding RM5,000 or with whipping not exceeding 6 strokes or with any combination thereof for offences under the Islamic law.
“With this amendment, we hope that the well-being of Muslims, especially in Terengganu, will be better protected,” he said.
Meanwhile, Satiful said that a coordinating committee will be established under the state Religious Affairs Department to monitor matters related to witchcraft and sorcery, as well as to ensure that the state’s Muslim community did not seek alternative treatments that conflicted with Islamic law.
He added that the punishment would only be meted out on individuals who provide such treatments, and not the patients.
As for the section on women acting like men, Satiful said that it was needed because the existing legal provisions only covered men acting like women.
“In the past, we do not see much of this issue (women acting like men). However, we often see tomboys or lesbians and similar cases becoming more widespread. So, the state government intends to curb this issue,” he said.
These amendments also involved 21 existing sections and would only take effect after receiving Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin’s consent.
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