MCA says keeping mum on Shariah Bill until Cabinet discussion


KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 — MCA said today it is waiting for a Cabinet draft of a proposed Bill to allow harsher punishments to be meted out in the Shariah courts, before commenting on it.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) component party’s deputy president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong said the Bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, or Act 355, will have to be presented first within the Cabinet.

“Every new Bill has to go through a process where it is presented in the Cabinet. So we have not discussed this in detail,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby.

Recently, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was reported saying ruling BN will present amendments to Act 355 as a Government Bill.

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang had previously brought the Bill to Parliament as a private member, which had then received support from Umno ministers.

MCA has vehemently opposed the Bill, with its president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai previously threatening to resign if it goes through.

"We cannot base our responses on what has been reported alone," Wee said.

He also said that he does not know if the draft of the Bill will be presented at the Cabinet meeting this Friday.

"We do not want to make any assumptions. We need a mature discussion on this matter," he added.