KUALA LUMPUR: For a good 40 minutes, the Dewan Rakyat was thrown into a state of pandemonium as Opposition parliamentarians tried to prevent Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang from tabling the Private Member's Bill to empower Syariah courts.
The disruptions began as soon as Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia called Hadi (Pas-Marang) to move his motion, with Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Gelang Patah) standing up to seek an explanation on why a PMB he had filed earlier was rejected.
Lee Boon Chye (PKR-Gopeng) also stood up and questioned why Hadi's motion was given priority ahead of motions by other parliamentarians.
He further raised the point of the lower house sitting for a marathon 20 hours to pass five government bills, with four needing to be withdrawn, "and yet not a single one was included for debates today".
Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong) weighed in with his point on subjudice, citing that a court action was currently being taken to prevent the reading of Hadi's motion today.
Interspersed in all of these were Pandikar explaining the reasons behind each decision, as well as Datuk Takiyudin Hassan (Pas-Kota Baru) defending the tabling of the bill.
The chaotic atmosphere persisted, with Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (BN-Baling) also chipping in with his remark that the Opposition was just trying to buy time with their antics.
Things reached a heated climax as several other Opposition lawmakers stood up to make their point, with Pandikar telling them to sit down or he would otherwise order them out of the house.
The proposed amendments to Section 2 of The Act is to increase the current "imprisonment of more than three years or fine of more than RM5,000, or more than six lashes" to "jail term of more than 30 years or fine more than RM100,000 or 100 lashes as administered in line with the syariah crimes".