KUALA LUMPUR: Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah yesterday pointed out that the country’s religious institutions are constantly being subjected to pressure by external organisations to accept their brand of human rights despite it clearly not being in line with Islamic laws and the Federal Constitution.
He said only through unity and strong cooperation will the religious institutions be able to ward off these attempts, and named the United Nations and non-governmental organisations as some of the bodies that were applying this pressure.
“Religious departments or agencies are also facing issues relating to human rights pushed by certain quarters, whose voices are eventually heard internationally as well.
“Only with strong cooperation and unity can we thwart these demands which are against Islamic laws and the Federal Constitution,” His Majesty said in his address at a discourse on the management of Islamic affairs in the states under his patronage, at the Istana Negara here.
This is the first such event to be organised by the Palace and the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim), on the initiative of the King himself, in an effort to strengthen and streamline religious agencies.
The discourse is also aimed at obtaining feedback on religious affairs in states under the King’s patronage, namely Pahang, the Federal Territories, Penang, Melaka, Sabah and Sarawak.
Meanwhile, His Majesty also said that there needs to be a comprehensive effort to empower the Syariah Courts, by making available sufficient trained manpower, infrastructure and facilities, latest information technology systems and restructured work practices to deliver a more efficient and effective justice system.
The King said the Syariah courts must also be given liberties to implement a judicial system that is in accordance with the Syariah mould.
“For instance, the Syariah courts’ functions must not be limited to only issuing orders but also must be expanded to ensuring the monitoring and enforcement of those orders,” the King said.
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong said that to ensure the proper coordination of ‘fatwa’ (decrees) on issues of national importance decided by the National Fatwa Committee and acknowledged by the Conference of Rulers, it is recommended that the states adopt and gazette these decrees.
This is to ensure that the National Fatwa Committee’s decrees are endorsed as official decrees with only the state governments having the authority to gazette them, he said.
“The uniformity of fatwa via the gazetting process will forge solidarity among the states in issues relating to Syariah laws and fatwa in the country.
“It will also portray a positive image of Islamic affairs management in the context of fatwa in this country,” he said.
His Majesty pointed out that despite several main Syariah laws already streamlined at state-level, Syariah criminal offence laws have not (been streamlined).
The King said Jakim, through its Syariah and Civil Laws Technical Committee, is in discussion with all states for an agreement to amend and streamline their respective Syariah criminal offence laws.
A total of 27 participants attended the event, including chairmen of state religious councils, state muftis, Syariah chief judges, and all State Islamic Religious Department directors under the King’s patronage. — Bernama