HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam is expected to announce the official enforcement date of the first phase of the Syariah Penal Code Order today at a special ceremony at the International Convention Centre (ICC).
The monarch announced the phased introduction of the Order six months ago during the opening of the Knowledge Convention.
“The code is a special guidance from Allah (SWT) to us all... This Act without doubt, is now part of the great history of our nation,” he said last October.
The Order outlines several offences which are punishable by hadd, where the penalty has been set out by the Quran or the hadith (traditions) of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Hadd offences cover six areas – theft, illicit sexual relations, making unproven accusations of illicit sex, causing physical hurt, drinking intoxicants, apostasy, and acts contrary to Islamic beliefs.
Since the announcement was made, Brunei has captured headlines both at home and abroad due to some of the punishments prescribed by Islamic law, such as stoning, flogging and amputation of limbs.
The government has carried out several public briefings on the new legislation, but confusion and speculation is still rife among the population about the effect the laws will have on day-to-day life.
The law states that the Order shall apply to both Muslims and non-Muslims, except where expressly provided.
The first phase will be enforced at a date determined by the Sultan and the Brunei Islamic Religious Council.
The second phase will introduce corporal punishment, and will only be enforced 12 months after the Syariah Courts Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) is gazetted.
The Syariah CPC outlines procedures for law enforcement to carry out investigation and prosecution.
The third phase, which sees the enforcement of the death penalty, will be in place 24 months after the Syariah CPC is finalised.
According to legal officials, the Syariah CPC is in final reading and will be codified into law in the near future.
Doa selamat and thanksgiving prayers will be held at all places of worship in the country from 5.45pm.
The Brunei Times
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