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ICC NOTE: Currently Kelantan already has sharia compliant rules such as gender separate supermarket lines and requirements of the lights to be on during movie showings. To further its reach, the government has been attempting to pass a constitutional amendment expanding Sharia in Kelantan state to include hudud, Sharia punishment, which includes sentences such as the chopping of hands for thieves. Non-Muslims have protection under Malaysian law where this would not affect them due to the countries protection of religious freedom. However, there remains the risk if Sharia were fully implemented in the state, it could lead to a greater presence of Islamist radical and their allies in the region. 

6/30/2016 Malaysia (Asia News) – A government proposal to amend the Constitution to introduce Sharia law in Kelantan state, in the northeast of the country, has met with strong criticism.

The country’s political opposition and minorities were quick to point out that such a change would be unconstitutional, expressing concern that other states in the federation might do the same.

One of those opposed is former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, 91, who accused current Prime Minister Najib Razak of trying to woo Islamists groups as possible political allies. Razak is currently facing allegations of financial improprieties that threaten to undermine his political future.

An Islamist party, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Parti Islam Se-Malaysia, PAS) is behind the proposed changes, which include adding hudud, Sharia-based punishments, to state law.

Last May the ruling National Front coalition government agreed to debate the issue in parliament. If adopted, hudud provisions would impose stoning on adulterers and hand amputation on thieves.

“What is happening now is that Umno feels itself isolated because of what Najib has done. So in search of alliance, Umno is actually trying to win over PAS,” Mahathir said. Umno is the United Malays National Organisation, the country’s main political party.

Already in Kelantan, there are separate checkout counters for men and women in supermarkets, alcohol is banned and cinemas must have the lights turned on during film screenings.

The proposals would not apply to non-Muslims. However, for some that is one-sided. “Muslims, if they steal, they get their hands chopped, but non-Muslims only get jailed for two months. This is not Islam! This is not fair,” Mahathir said.

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