Ex-DPM’s son seeks meeting with Speaker tomorrow over Shariah Bill lawsuit

By Ida Lim
Mohamed Tawfik Dr Ismail (pictured) wanted to meet the Dewan Rakyat Speaker over a lawsuit aimed at stopping the tabling of PAS president’s Private Member’s Bill to increase Shariah sentencing. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — Mohamed Tawfik Dr Ismail has asked Dewan Rakyat Speaker for an urgent meeting tomorrow over a lawsuit aimed at stopping the tabling of PAS president’s Private Member’s Bill to increase Shariah sentencing.

In a letter today to Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, the son of the late deputy prime minister Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman informed him of the lawsuit and the urgent need to pass him the court documents.

“With respect to Tan Sri, we request for an appointment to serve the documents personally to Tan Sri tomorrow April 5, 2017 at 12 noon or at a suitable time for Tan Sri tomorrow,” the letter by Tawfik’s law firm that was sighted by Malay Mail Online read.

“This service has to be done immediately because the Deputy Prime Minister has issued a statement that Hadi’s Motion will be tabled on Thursday, April 6, 2017,” it claimed.

On April 1, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the proposal to amend the law to increase the Shariah courts’ sentencing limits will be tabled by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang as a Private Member’s Bill.

Zahid had also said that the tabling by Hadi could only happen after the federal government had finished its business and debates on its own Bills on April 6 — which is the last day of the current month-long meeting at the Dewan Rakyat.

It is unclear if there will be time left for Hadi to table his Private Member’s Bill in light of the long list of pending government’s Bills and motions in the Order Paper.

In the letter today on behalf of Tawfik, Raub MP Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz and several other unnamed Malaysians, they also sought to draw Pandikar’s attention to his past decisions in Parliament on “sub judice” but did not elaborate.

Sub judice is a legal term used for matters which are being considered by judges and which may not be discussed outside of courts.

Last Friday, Tawfik filed a lawsuit against Pandikar and Dewan Rakyat secretary Datuk Roosme Hamzah at the High Court, seeking 10 declarations and orders to ultimately stop Hadi from tabling his private member’s Bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act.

Among other things, Tawfik said Hadi’s Private Member’s Bill had violated the Federal Constitution’s guarantee under Article 8 of the right to equality and non-discrimination to all Malaysians.

Claiming that Hadi’s Private Member’s Bill had not been first referred to the Conference of Rulers for consultation and consent as required by the Federal Constitution’s Article 38, Tawfik said the courts should declare that the Dewan Rakyat Speaker may not allow the tabling of that Bill or any similar Bill by the government.

The former MP also wanted the High Court to declare that Hadi had breached the Dewan Rakyat’s Standing Orders or rules for the lower House’s proceedings, by allegedly not submitting reasons to support his proposed legal changes.

He added Dewan Rakyat secretary Datuk Roosme Hamzah should have rejected Hadi’s submission and insertion into the Order Paper because of this alleged failure, and asked the court to declare the acceptance to be “wrongful”.

Dr Ismail was the deputy to the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein who was the country’s second prime minister.

Hadi’s motion to propose his Private Member’s Bill is in the Order Papers for the ongoing Dewan Rakyat meeting running from March 6 to April 6, the fifth time it has formally entered Parliament’s agenda.

Hadi is seeking to increase the Shariah courts’ sentencing limits from the current three years’ jail, RM5,000 fine and six lashes to a new maximum of 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 lashes.