Saturday, September 1, 2007

Malaysia considers switch to Islamic law - The Daily Telegraph

By Thomas Bell in Kuala Lumpur

Hardline Islamic law could be introduced across Malaysia under reforms proposed by the country's chief justice.

As the nation in south-east Asia celebrated 50 years of independence from Britain yesterday, its government was preparing to discuss a plan that would revolutionise the legal system put in place by its former colonial administrators.

As Kuala Lumpur witnessed celebrations that included parades, fireworks and a fighter-jet fly-by attended by the Duke of York, the proposal pointed to the deep differences which locals say are poisoning social relations beyond the glitter and skyscrapers of Malaysia's modern capital city.

Ahmad Fairuz, the chief justice, told an Islamic conference in Kuala Lumpur that 50 years of independence had failed to free Malaysia from the "clutches of colonialism". Sharia law should be "infused" into the gaps created by abolishing common law, he said.

Malaysia's non-Muslim Chinese and Indian communities, who form 40 per cent of the population, are alarmed at creeping Islamisation.

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