KUALA LUMPUR, March 10 — PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s Bill to increase Shariah punishments lays the foundation to introduce Islamic penal law in Malaysia, panellists at an MCA-organised forum said today.
Three of the four speakers the forum titled “Implications of Hadi Awang’s RUU355” concurred that the proposal to raise the ceiling on Shariah punishments were part of a larger agenda by the Islamist party
“The proposed amendments are just the tip of the iceberg for PAS in trying to bring in hudud,” lawyer Kevin Koo from MCA said.
He also questioned the insistence to increase Shariah penalties in the country given the controversy surrounding the effort and when, according to him, there were more pressing matters to be addressed.
The other two panellists who shared his views were Sardar Jagir Singh, a former president of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) and Malay Mail Online assistant news editor Zurairi AR.
Zurairi noted that while the current proposal is framed as increasing Shariah punishments, PAS previously called it hudud when the plan first resurfaced two years ago.
The proposal had initially been devised to let Kelantan implement the state’s Shariah Criminal Code (II) Enactment 1993, but has since morphed into its current form.
“Since 2014, PAS has been talking about hudud implementation and there were also news reports saying that Hadi’s Bill, once amended, can enact three hudud punishments,” Zurairi said.
Shariah Lawyers Association deputy president Moeis B. Basri disagreed that Hadi’s Bill would lead to hudud, however, saying it does not expressly seek to do so in its current state.
The Bill in its latest form seeks to raise the Shariah courts’ maximum sentencing limits to 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 strokes of the cane. The current limits are hree years’ jail, RM5,000 fine and six strokes.
“It is just a proposal… We don’t know what’s going to happen in the future.
“You cannot worry about something that has not happened. It is like worrying North Korea is going to launch a nuclear missile at us,” he said.
Hadi’s motion proposing the Bill was seen in the Dewan Rakyat Order Paper on Tuesday, its fifth such appearance in Parliament’s agenda.
The PAS president’s proposal has gained added credence since Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said his administration will eventually adopt the Bill.