PAS president again defers Shariah Bill

Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang says he will only elaborate on the proposed amendment when Parliament next convenes in March. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 ― Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang today tabled a motion on his amended private member’s bill to raise Shariah courts’ sentencing powers by at least tenfold, but again deferred its discussion to the next Parliamentary meeting.

The updated version now seeks to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, to increase the Islamic courts’ punishment ceiling to 30 years’ prison, RM100,000 fine and 100 lashes of the cane.

It was previously to allow Shariah courts to mete out any punishment short of the death penalty.

As the PAS president had done during the previous meeting when his motion was elevated by an Umno minister, Hadi today said he will only elaborate on the proposed amendment when Parliament next convenes in March.

In a press conference later, Hadi explained that the decision to postpone debate and voting was made before today, in line with Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s previous remarks that neither will take place today.

Hadi said this was also because his Bill was facing strong opposition from non-Muslims.

“This motion is only to do with Muslims, and should not be disturbed by non-Muslims.

“However there are non Muslim politicians who are not representing us and are objecting it for their own purpose over the good of the people,” he said.

The Marang MP also claimed that previous amendments to the Shariah courts power in 1965 and 1984 were done without the interference of non-Muslims.

“It shows how non Muslim politicians now are interfering into the issue of Muslims,” Hadi said.

Hadi’s Bill in its original form had been characterised as necessary to pave way for the enforcement of Kelantan’s Syariah Criminal Code (II) Enactment 1993 that includes hudud punishments such as amputations.

This has receded with each advance the Bill has made, however, and is currently presented as merely to enhance the powers of the Shariah courts. – Malay Mail Online

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