Royalty at Declaration of Enforcement of Syariah Penal Code Order 2013
Aziz Idris

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam consented to attend the historic event to mark the Declaration of the Enforcement of the Syariah Penal Code Order 2013 yesterday at the International Convention Centre, Berakas.

Accompanying His Majesty were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office; His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah and His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik.

Upon arrival, His Majesty and members of the royal family were greeted by the Minister of Religious Affairs, Pg Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad bin Pg Haji Abdul Rahman and members of the organising committee.

The ceremony commenced with the recitation of verses of Al-Quran from Surah Al-Maidah verse 48-50 by Dato Paduka Awang Haji Yusof bin Bakar, while the interpretation was read by Awang Haji Hassan bin Haji Metali, Acting Head Registrar of the Syariah Court of Appeal.

This was followed by a welcoming speech by the Minister of Religious Affairs, where he said that the enforcement of the Syariah Penal Code Order 2013 will be carried out in phases.

He added that the implementation of the law will be made carefully and methodically, particularly to provide opportunities for the public to have an in-depth understanding about the provisions and wisdom or benefit behind the offences provided.

According to Pg Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad, the provision enforced in Phase 1 will include Part 1 (Preliminary), Part II (General Exceptions), Part III (Abetment), Part IV (Offences) which includes Section 94 (pregnant out of wedlock) from Chapter 1, Section 184, 185, 189, 190 and 191 from Chapter 3 which comprises various offences under the withdrawal of Syahadah and lastly, Part IV (General Offences).

“In general, Phase 1 of the law will only consist of offences punishable under Ta’zir,” he said.

In addition to the gazetted Syariah Penal Code Order 2013, the minister announced three amendments made to the law under the jurisdictions of the Syariah Court: the Religious Council Act and Kadhi Court, Section 77; the Syariah Courts Act, Section 184; and the Syariah Courts Evidence Order 2001.

Meanwhile, two committees have been established to uphold the Syariah Law: the implementation committee for the gazetting of the law and the committee to entertain any questions on the law.

Both committees will be co-chaired by the Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, Dato Paduka Haji Abdul Wahab bin Juned; and the Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs, Pg Dato Paduka Haji Bahrom bin Pg Haji Bahar.

The minister also revealed that some 40,000 participants from 82 groups have attended the ongoing Syariah briefings between January and April 2014 conducted by designated committee members.

“A total of 10,000 survey forms have been distributed to the public regarding the understanding of Syariah Law and to date, one-third of the forms have been returned and assessed. According to the initial results, the public’s understanding of this order is very good,” said the minister.

The ceremony proceeded with His Majesty delivering his titah, followed by a special briefing on Phase 1 of the Syariah Penal Code Order 2013 by Datin Seri Paduka Hjh Hayati binti Pehin Orang Kaya Shahbandar Dato Seri Paduka Haji Mohd Salleh, the Attorney General.

A Doa Selamat was then read by the State Mufti, Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Haji Awang Abd Aziz bin Juned. - Borneo Bulletin (1 May 2014)