KUALA LUMPUR: The G25 group of eminent Malays remains opposed to Syariah laws that intrude into the private lives of people, said G25 spokesman Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin.
She gave khalwat laws as an example, adding that Malaysia was the only Muslim country with such laws.
"We are saying this is against Islam. You cannot knock on someone's door at 3am and go into their bedroom and arrest them," said Noor Farida.
Speaking at a press conference after the close of the G25-organised Islam in a Constitutional Democracy forum here on Sunday, Noor Farida said that G25 was planning to get a consultative council set up to examine Syariah laws that were in conflict with the Federal Constitution.
"The remit of the consultative committee members will be to look at the Syariah laws, and to recommend repeal or amendment where there have been trespasses of the Constitution and to look at the laws that intrude into people's private spheres. You cannot intrude into a person's private sphere," said Noor Farida.
She added that there were problems with the Syariah Criminal Enactments, the state Syariah Criminal Offences Enactments as well as the one used in the Federal Territories.
"We need to look at those, especially those which have violated the Federal Constitution," said Noor Farida.
Speaking further about the consultative council, Noor Farida said that non-Muslims would also be included in the council as they were affected by such laws, such as the tussle over bodies or the unilateral conversion of children to Islam in a marriage.
"A spouse converts to Islam, and then the Syariah Court dissolves the marriage. This is something they cannot do because the marriage was solemnised under the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 which is a civil law. And then the non-converting spouse has no remedy," said Noor Farida.
Also present at the press conference was former Finance Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Sheriff Kassim , who said that G25 would work hard to get the council set up.
"We will work hard on this. We will do it as fast as possible and share it with the public and we will get other non-governmental organisations to sign up with us on this. We should have as broad a base as possible. G25 can take the lead, but G25 alone will not be that effective," he added.
Former ambassador and G25 member Datuk Redzuan Kushairi said that the movement to get the consultative council formed would involve more than just G25.
Redzuan added that G25 would like to get more youth groups and women's groups involved in the planning of the council.
"It has to be more than just G25, it has to be a mass movement by a big group of civil society organisations. We have to talk to the various authorities. At the end of the day, it has to come under the umbrella of a state organisation. This is something that will be discussed with civil society," he said.
The Malay Mail