Whether to apply Islamic law to non-Muslims in Aceh.
Speaking to the parliamentary committee deliberating a bill on the province's administration State Secretary Yusril Ihza Mahendra said that non-Muslims accused of committing ordinary crimes, such as theft and adultery, would be tried under the sharia-inspired bylaws (qanun), according to the Jakarta Post.
Several MP's, from the Properous Peace Party, PDS, and the Democratic Party of Struggle, PDI-P, requested that non-Muslims be given the choice as to whether they are tried under Indonesian law or under Acehenese Islamic law. Yusril Ihza Mahendra said non.
If such freedom were given, non-Muslims would certainly choose to be tried under the Criminal Code because it carries more lenient punishment.
He said that in the case of adultery, non-Muslims who committed adultery with Muslims would undoubtedly opt for trial by the Criminal Code because it was more lenient than the stoning or other forms of corporal punishment stipulated under Islamic law.
Yusril said later in the hearing that non-Muslims could be exempted for trial by the Islamic court only in cases relating to family and business or monetary matters.
The debate on the proposed laws for Aceh is expected to have ended within two months. Member of parliament Permadi, of the PDI-P, alleged that members of the committee had been bought off by the Home Ministry, with the amount of Rp 1.6 billion (about $180,000) having been distributed among 50 members of the special committee.
He said this money had succeeded in quelling the previously strong opposition to the bill from some quarters.
2nd May 2006. The allegations of bribery that surfaced during the less than vigorous debate on the Aceh Government Bill are to be investigated.
The House of Representatives (DPR) Chairman, Agung Laksono, agreed to hold a meeting of parliament leaders to discuss the mysterious envelopes (containing money) which had been presented to members of the Special Committee for the Aceh Government Bill, presumably to encourage them to pass the bill with as little debate and delay as possible.
According to Agung Laksono, the passing about of money:
....should not have happened, either in the DPR or any other institution.
Deputy Chairman of the parliament, Soetardjo Soerjogoeritno, admitted having requested the DPR Courtesy Board to immediately call the special committee members who accepted the envelopes.
Agung Laksono, who is a senior member of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), also requested the Home Affairs Minister, M. Ma'ruf, not to repeat handing out money to parliament members. Meanwhile the DPR Secretary General, Faisal Djamal, believes that the whole episode about the envelopes is an offense.
We will perfect [amend] the qanun (sharia ordinances) so that they are even better and apply to non-Muslims.
He said this to a gathering of members of Islamic organisations and some students.
He also said that the laws against alcohol, gambling, and sexual immorality needed to be amended so that they applied not just to civilians but also to policemen and soldiers, - these people, like non-Muslims, presently are not subject to sharia.
So in future anyone who violates the qanun will be punished, whether policemen, soldiers, or non-Muslims.