KUALA LUMPUR: That the government has chosen not to table a bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 is testament to the way Barisan Nasional works as a consensus.
Umno information chief Tan Sri Annuar Musa said early today it was proof that BN was consistent in keeping this tradition of working together.
"This is one of the strengths of BN where the solidarity of the party is always a priority in an atmosphere of mutual respect among all component parties. Decisions are made based on consensus," he said in a statement issued following the BN Supreme Council meeting yesterday.
Annuar said the decision also showed that the BN government upheld the rights and freedom of every member of parliament.
"Now, the ball is in Pas' court, those who have ties with them, such as PKR, and those who call themselves defenders of Islam. This is a test for Pas."
Annuar said it now remained to be seen whether there was any "solidarity amongst them", in referrence, it was believed, to opposition parties.
He said Umno and BN had yet to make an official stand on the private member's bill on amendments to the act which had been tabled by Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.
"This is because there are still lots of things and procedures that need to be done to amend an act... we shall cross that bridge when we come to it," he said.
In the meantime, said Annuar, Hadi and Pas had every right to try to explain the reasoning behind the tabling of the private member's bill to the people, their allies and others.
He said it was imperative that everyone understood the bill and the amendments it proposes before any decision can be made.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had, last night, told reporters that the governnent would not table a bill to amend the act.
He had said the BN Supreme Council had come to this consensus during its meeting yesterday.
The matter, he said, would remain as a private member's bill.