Cabinet must reach consensus on Act 355 before its tabling in Parliament: MCA


KUALA LUMPUR: The Cabinet will reach a consensus on the proposed amendments to the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355) before they are tabled in Parliament, said MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

Wee said Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties have not seen the draft bill, adding that all parties need to study the contents of the bill in detail.

"Every bill that will be tabled in Parliament must be discussed in Cabinet.

"There will be agreements and disagreements, but we will negotiate together, because we are a government that practises consensus," Wee told reporters at the Parliament lobby here today.

He said the BN leadership will make a collective decision on the proposed amendments to Act 355, but did not specify whether the issue would be raised during the Cabinet meeting this Friday.

His comments came after Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, on Friday, hinted that the government will table the bill to amend Act 355 during the current Parliament session.

A Private Member's Bill to amend the Act was first moved by Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang on May 26 last year.

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

Several BN component parties, including MCA and Gerakan, have voiced their objections to Hadi's bill, saying the proposed amendments are not in line with the Federal Constitution.

The presidents of both parties have even threatened to resign from their ministerial positions should the bill be passed in Parliament.