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30.04.14 Implementation of the Shari'ah Penal Code Order, 2013


1 REJAB 1435 HIJRAH CORRESPONDING TO THE 1st OF MAY, 2014 has been proclaimed as the day of the commencement of the coming into force of the Shari'ah Penal Code Order, 2013. His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, while proclaiming the Order's implementation day, stressed that the decision to implement the Shari'ah Penal Code Order, 2013 was not made on a mere whim, but rather based on the policy of adhering to the Command of Allah as enshrined in Al-Qur'an and Al-Hadith. His Majesty made the titah during the Proclamation Ceremony for the Implementation of the Shari'ah Penal Code Order, 2013 yesterday. The ceremony was held at the Plenary Hall, International Convention Centre in Berakas.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam was greeted on arrival by the Minister of Religious Affairs, Yang Berhormat Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Doctor Haji Mohammad bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahman; the State Mufti, Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Doktor Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned and other committee members. Accompanying His Majesty at the ceremony were His Majesty's sons and brothers, 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, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah; and His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik.

The ceremonial proceedings commenced with the reading of holy verses of Al-Qur'an from Surah Al-Maidah by Dato Paduka Haji Yusop bin Bakar which, among other things, states that the Islamic Principles and Laws come from Allah the Almighty who has created all the contents of the universe with all His Wisdom. The verses explained that Allah the Almighty created principles and laws as a mark of His love and compassion for all His servants so as to guide and lead humans in all situations.

The First Phase of the Shari'ah Penal Code Order, 2013 will see the implementation of provisions for General Offences that are punishable with fines or imprisonment. The Minister of Religious Affairs, in his welcoming remarks, described the provisions that will take effect during the first phase. According to Yang Berhormat Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Doctor Haji Mohammad, the provisions which will be enforced in the first phase are Part One or The Introduction, Part Two on General Exemptions, Part 3 on Collaboration, Part Four on Offences under Chapter 94 Section 1; and Chapters 184, 185, 189, 190 and 191 of Section Three, all offences liable to fines or imprisonment or both of Section Four and Part 5 on General Offences. Apart from the enforcement of the Shari'ah Criminal Penal Code Order 2013, amendments are made on three laws under the Shari'ah Court authority, with effect from now, namely the Islamic Religious Council Act and the Kadhi Courts, Section 77, Shari'ah Court Act, Section 184 and the Shari'ah Court Clarification Order, 2001.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, in the titah, asserted that in carrying out the Laws of Allah, the nation does not expect other people to accept and agree with it, but that it would suffice if they just respect the nation in the same way that it also respects them.

The Attorney-General, Yang Berhormat Datin Seri Paduka Hajah Hayati binti Pehin Orang Kaya Shahbandar Dato Seri Paduka Haji Mohammad Salleh, in a special talk, presented a detailed explanation of the present Brunei Darussalam justice system, as well as the system and process of criminal justice following the implementation of the Order, especially for overlapping jurisdictions whereby the offence comes under the jurisdictions of both the Civil and Shari'ah Courts. Yang Berhormat datin said the enforcement of the Shari'ah Penal Code Order opens a new chapter in the Brunei Darussalam legal system bringing along unique challenges. The Civil Penal Code will be maintained and continued to be carried out. This means that Brunei Darussalam will have two criminal justice systems working hand in hand. Based on the desires and titahs of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, outside perception that the Penal code which is the Civil criminal Law currently in use has been rendered obsolete, is incorrect. Yang Berhormat Datin added, the Shari'ah penal Code Order, 2013 will be used once the conditions required by syarak are fulfilled, of which we are made to understand has a very high sentencing standard that is beyond doubt. Therefore, the preliminary investigation and litigation process for overlapping crimes existing in both the Penal Code and the Shari'ah penal Code Order, 2013 is as what is currently carried out. Preliminary assessment will be made to decide the suitable court so that the individual will not be tried twice for the same crime. Such hand in hand authority has long existed in Brunei Darussalam. What is more important now is for such justice system to be enhanced with the enforcement of the Shari'ah penal Code Order, 2013.

To further bless the ceremony, doa selamat was read by the State Mufti, Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Doktor Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned.

The implementation of the Shari'ah Penal Code Order, 2013 is carefully and meticulously being carried out based on Al-Qur'an and As-Sunnah, specifically so as to provide the opportunity for the public to gain a deeper understanding of the contents and the wisdom behind the provisions made. Shari'ah criminal law is focussed more on deterrence than punishment and is based on the concept of 'amr ma'ruf and nahy mungkar', that is, of encouraging the good and abhorring the bad, a concept that is more humbling than punitive. It is hoped that the implementation in stages would provide room for addressing doubts or misconceptions that could arise. The implementation of Islamic laws is not unprecedented in the country. It was ever carried out during the Islamic glory days a few centuries ago, but was halted with the presence of foreign powers which reduced the strength and effectiveness of Islamic legislation. It is thereby hoped that the implementation of this order would be able to restore the status of Islamic legislation in the country, such that it befits Brunei Darussalam's stature as a nation that practices the Malay Islamic Monarchy concept, a historic Nation of Zikir shaped by the more-than five centuries of Malay Islamic Monarchy.

The presence of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam at the proclamation ceremony reflects the monarch's RESOLVE IN advancing Islamic legislation in the country. His Majesty's aspiration for administrating the country according to the Islamic mould has long been ingrained in the system of nationhood in Brunei Darussalam which practices the Malay Islamic Monarchy concept.


News courtesy of Radio Television Brunei
Photo courtesy of InfoFoto

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