No proposal to curb non-Muslim religions, says law minister

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PUTRAJAYA: No proposal to enact a law to restrict or control the development of non-Muslim religions has been brought to the Cabinet and even if it was, it would require the states to come to a consensus, said Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

The de facto law minister’s explanation comes after deputy minister in the prime minister’s department (religious affairs) Ahmad Marzuk Shaary reportedly said enacting such a law was part of the federal government’s plans to strengthen shariah laws.

At a press conference today, Wan Junaidi said the states would first need to be consulted as religious matters are under their purview.

“We have to discuss with state authorities to see if they agree or not.

“We cannot bring it to Parliament unless all the states agree,” he explained.

The proposed law, according to the deputy minister, was part of the government’s ’empowerment plan’, which involves 11 legislative steps including four new laws and seven amendments.

Other new pieces of legislation proposed included a Wakaf Bill, Mufti Bill and Shariah Court Bill, which would be introduced over the next five years according to the plan.

Amendments to the controversial Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 are also part of the plan, Ahmad Marzuk was quoted as saying by Harakah Daily.

Islamic laws and the Islamic penal code come under the jurisdiction of state governments, but are handled by the federal government in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan.

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