First phase of Syariah Code comes into effect on April 22 in Brunei

BRUNEI - The first phase of the Syariah Penal Code Order will be enforced on April 22, the Minister of Religious Affairs announced at the Legislative Council (LegCo) session yesterday.

Yang Berhormat Pg Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Pg Hj Abd Rahman said the first phase will be enforced six months after the approval of the legislation by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan Negara Brunei Darussalam on October 22, 2013.

The second phase will come into force 12 months after the Syariah Courts Criminal Procedure Code is gazetted.

The draft of the code is being finalised by the Brunei Islamic Religious Council, while the third phase will come 24 months after that.

During the final day of the 10th Legislative sitting yesterday, the minister acknowledged that there were negative responses by those who do not understand the beauty and benefits of the legislation.

"However, many voices were positive and supportive. They welcome our intentions to implement the Syariah Penal Code Order....The country adheres to Al-Quran and Al-Sunnah, and Islam has been practised here for more than five centuries," he added.

Addressing concerns raised by LegCo members about social issues among youth, the minister said the Syariah Penal Code Order would be able to deal with social ills more effectively.

"It will create a society, especially among the youth, who have good morals, are ethical and well-mannered," the minister said.

The ministry is also looking to hire expert consultants to address social and moral ills. He said it was deferred since the ministry was researching the matter. He added that the hiring of experts would prove beneficial to cure social issues.