Bandar Seri Begawan: Under Section 190, anyone found insulting His Majesty’s authority in his capacity as the Head of Islamic Religion for Brunei Darussalam or Council or any committee or members or officers or any mosque officer is committing an offence and therefore liable to one-month imprisonment or a fine of BND$1,000.
For non-Muslims who are found guilty of irreverently mocking Al-Quran or Hadith (traditions and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalam) will be sentenced to thirty years’ imprisonment or not more than forty lashes.
Similar offences committed outside of the Sultanate could also be dealt with in this country and requires cooperation from relevant agencies from the country that harbors the offender whereby the suspect to be apprehended and charged under the country’s laws.
The punishment came about yesterday during the 10th LegCo (Legislative Council) Meeting whereby Minister of Religious Affairs, Yang Berhormat Pg Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Pg Hj Abd Rahman responded to a query by Yang Berhormat Awg Hj Md Shafiee Ahmad.
Those who profanely mock at the Syariah Penal Code Order 2013 and stirring anxiety or provoking independent thoughts among the public through social media, SMS, WhatsApp, or through the printed media will be considered as having committed different offences under different laws.
Such acts could be tackled separately through the existing legal provisions by relevant agencies like religious enforcement officers, Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF), the Authority for Info-Communications Technology Industry (AiTi) and so on.
An act of insult could tarnish the image of the nation, “influence” the people and threaten the national security.
It was made clear during the meeting that the first out of three phases of Syariah Law will deal with insults. Currently, the state is at the stage of disseminating information and could be extended if needed to educate and provide understanding to the public.
Despite being in the midst of disseminating the Penal Code, the act of mocking Syariah Penal Code Order will be investigated under the existing provision whereby enforcement officers could conduct a probe through the Islamic Religious Council and Kadhi Court, Chapter 77.
In a country where free speech is just a daydream, the new punishment for those who even dare to question the authority with Syariah Law as a pretext indicates that something is amiss. There exists not a law in Al-Quran and Hadith that prohibits truth. In fact, it is an obligation for Muslims to seek knowledge. ©BRUDIRECT.COM