BN very professional in handling RUU355 issue: MIC

Suresh Ram

KUALA LUMPUR: The government’s move in not taking over the Private Member’s Bill to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act, or RUU355, demonstrates that Barisan Nasional (BN) is very professional in handling sensitive issues.

It also shows that all issues can be resolved via informed discussion and negotiations by the BN, said MIC treasurer-general, Datuk Seri S. Vell Paari.

“The decision by the Prime Minister is a positive development with respect to the RUU 355 bill, which has caused unease among BN component parties,” he said in a statement today.

BN chairman and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that the government will not be tabling the RUU355 bill, saying it will remain a Private Member's Bill.

The decision came following a consensus reached over the matter at the BN Supreme Meeting last night.

"The BN Supreme Council discussed a number of issues (at the meeting), including matters pertaining to Act 355, and it has been decided that the government will not table a bill to amend Act 355 in line with our policy and practice of deliberating based on consensus.

"As such, it will remain a Private Member's Bill and it is up to the Speaker (of Dewan Rakyat, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia) to decide, according to the Order Paper," Najib told a press conference after chairing the meeting.

The first reading of the bill was done by Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang during the last session of the Dewan Rakyat last year.

The bill is expected to see its second reading during the current Dewan Rakyat sitting.

The act seeks to amend RUU355 to empower Islamic courts to enforce punishment, except for the death penalty, provided in Shariah law for Islamic offences listed under state jurisdiction in the Federal Constitution.