Speed up establishment of Syarak Criminal Act
By Azlan Othman

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam said implementing Syarak Criminal Law should receive immediate and serious attention as we should no longer say 'No' or 'Wait First' as we now have all the requirements, the power and capability to implement it.

"If we still say 'No' or 'Wait First', it's not right. Who are we in front of Allah the Almighty to say 'No' or 'Wait First' as the law is not newly formulated but has been stated in al-Quran and al-Hadith since over 1,400 years ago?" His Majesty asked in his titah at the inaugural International Seminar on Islamic Law, which runs for three days at the Bridex Hall in Jerudong.

"Where are we in al-Quran and al-Hadith? Hence, without any hesitation, I would like to see Syarak Criminal Law implemented whilst not rejecting the Civil Law, which could still be used. In other words, the Syarak Criminal Act is needed while the usual Civil Act should not be left aside."

The monarch added, "We in Brunei have carried out something that is beautiful and unique in the aspect of law. We have and are striving towards Islamising all our laws. We have been and are adapting to all the existing Civil Law with Islamic requirements maintained in a more proper form and shape on the basis of Islam.

"This seminar is a very good effort towards responding to my ambition of implementing Syariah Law that I have mentioned repeatedly. It is one of my core ambitions which I have voiced out many times but yet to be handled.

"Although Brunei Darussalam is small, it has not prevented us from taking steps in implementing Syariah Law. As a Muslim, we are obliged to implement it to fulfil the order from Allah the Almighty.

"When Syariah Law is materialised, then this beautiful land would be considered as 'Baldatun thayyibatun wa rabbun ghafur' or a 'Peaceful and prosperous nation that is blessed by Allah the Almighty'.

"We have no choice but to obey orders from Allah the Almighty. This is our main obligation. One of the orders is to implement the Syariah Law. On July 15, 1996 and during the Brunei Islamic Religious Council meeting on March 13, 2011, I specifically mentioned on Syarak Criminal Law.

"At the recent Brunei Islamic Religious Council meeting two days ago, I highlighted on the cooperation between Islamic and Civil legal parties, which should be continued," said His Majesty.

The monarch also said, "I am convinced that when we implement Syarak Criminal Law while maintaining Civil Law, it would become more prominent as when Criminal Law is not handled through Syarak Act due to certain factors, then we would handle it through Civil which has been aligned according to Syarak.

"Is it not beautiful? In my opinion, it is very beautiful and indeed unique. I hope that this seminar would spark new and strong ideas to speed up the establishment of Syarak Criminal Act, which we have been waiting for.

"I believe Allah the Almighty is enlightening us with blessings to fulfil the ambition and equip us with strong spirit. I sincerely would like to thank Syariah Court for organising this historic seminar," said the ruler.

Also present were His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Hj 'Abdul 'Azim and HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik.

The seminar carries the theme 'Towards Implementing Syariah Law'. A premier paper entitled 'Implementing Syariah Law: Challenges and Solution' was delivered later and presented by the State Mufti.

Fourteen working papers will be presented by local and foreign speakers from Jordan, Australia, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Local speakers include Syarie Court Chief Justice, former Minister of Religious Affairs, Attorney General and experts from Syariah Legal Department and UNISSA. - Borneo Bulletin (13th Octopber 2011)