Khairy: BN didn’t U-turn on Shariah Bill

BY RAM ANAND

PUTRAJAYA, March 30 ― The government has not reversed any stand on a controversial proposal to increase the Shariah courts’ punitive powers, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said today.

He said Barisan Nasional (BN) has always governed according to the consensus principle among its coalition components and last night’s decision by its supreme council reflected their common stand with regards to adopting the PAS private motion as its own.

“This has nothing to do with whether we had made an U-turn. Whether we wanted to continue tabling the Bill was dependent on the BN consensus,” he told reporters after attending a dialogue session on Transformasi Nasional (TN50) here.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced last night that the BN would not be tabling amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act following a discussion with all 13 coalition components.

Najib said that the Bill would remain as a private member's Bill that was tabled by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.

An Umno minister previously helped expedite the private member's Bill tabling in Parliament last year, and a few weeks ago Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was reported saying the government would table Hadi’s Bill.

“We have to remain with our policy that we cannot go ahead if there is no consensus,” Khairy said.

“It's about consistency. It means we respect the stand of all BN component parties,” he added.