The Ministry of Religious Affairs wishes to refer to the letter by Pg Hj Abd Rahman published in the Opinion Column of the Borneo Bulletin dated February 13, 2013 entitled "What happened to the Syariah Law?"
First and foremost, the ministry wishes to thank the author for his observation and support in the implementation of the Syariah Law in the Sultanate.
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in his titah in conjunction with His Majesty's 66th birthday has consented to the implementation of the "Perintah Kanun Hukuman Jenayah" or the Syariah Criminal Law Order. Towards its implementation, the relevant agencies had collaborated diligently in strategising and planning in various aspects including human resources, infrastructure, training, administration, management of cases etc. The implementation of the Syariah Criminal Law Order will be done in stages according to its respective phases.
Yang Berhormat Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahman, the Minister of Religious Affairs during a dialogue session with the appointed members of the Legislative Council held on February 1, 2013 explained in his speech that the process of drafting the Order has been completed and at this juncture, it is currently undergoing a process of refinement before it is gazette as a National Law.
In addition to the Syariah Criminal Law Order, the "Perintah Kanun Peraturan Jenayah Syariah" or the Syariah Criminal Procedure Code (Syariah CPC) is also currently being drafted and evaluated by the Brunei Islamic Religious Council. This Syariah CPC aims to set a standard code of conduct that must be adhered to by legal practitioners in conducting investigations, prosecutions, trials, defence, and verdicts sentencing and soon. The objective is that justice is upheld in accordance to legitimate procedures for the accused and the other relevant parties in the hearings to be given a full and fair trial. It is essential that the Syariah CPC be enforced together with the Syariah Criminal Law Order as the absence of the Syariah CPC will not allow the complete implementation of the Syariah Criminal Law Order by legal practitioners and this inevitably will affect the principle of justice.
Therefore, the process of enacting a law, especially a Syariah law that is flawless from all aspects is not as simple as one would think. There are many factors that need to be considered ranging from the Syariah principles, policies, practicality, socio-politics as well as Maslahah or public interests. All these entail expertise, wisdom, experience, patience, perseverance, diligence and cooperation from all relevant agencies.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs once again wishes to express its thanks to the author for his notable support towards the aspiration of the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam towards integrating Syariah principles into the national law and justice system.
As Muslims and citizens of Brunei Darussalam, we should embrace this noble effort that will undoubtedly bring greater well-being and happiness to the society and nation as a whole. Our utmost gratitude to Allah the Almighty as the existence of the Syariah Law will not only be an important milestone in the Sultanate's legal system but also symbolises the greater blessings to our leader, nation and citizens in our life in this world and in the hereafter. Insya Allah.