PAS youth chief blames Umno for BN decision on Shariah Bill

BY KAMLES KUMAR

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — A PAS leader today blamed Umno for Barisan Nasional’s (BN) decision to not take over the tabling of the Islamist party’s private member’s Bill seeking harsher penalties for Shariah offences.

PAS youth chief Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz said Umno should have been able to convince its fellow component parties to support the Bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act — better known as RUU355 in Parliament

“The question should be directed to them, why Umno has failed to convince its BN component partners?

“We have already done our part, we have brought the Bill to Parliament to be tabled,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.

The Pasir Mas MP however said he was not disheartened about BN's decision and still hoped that all of the lawmakers, especially Muslims still vote for the Bill, if it's read out at the Dewan Rakyat.

“We hope all the parliamentarians, especially the Muslims ones would be voting for the Bill,” Nik Abduh added.

Responding to the claim made by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri today that BN might have tabled the Bill if they understood it better, Nik Abduh said that could be done when the Bill is debated.

“The debates on the Bill will help iron out all these other details, they shouldn't be too worried.

“It's not logical for people to still be against it, it's not against the federal constitution,” he explained.

Nik Abduh also stressed that public approval for the controversial Bill was not necessary and only needed the approval of lawmakers for now.

“Understanding on this law can be done from time to time. Doesn't need 100 per cent approval before going ahead with passing the Bill

“A lot of controversial laws also are only understood by 2-3 per cent of the population, mostly lawyers. If the public is interested in that particular act, they can learn and read up more on it,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was previously reported saying the government would take over PAS’s proposal and convert it into a government Bill.

It sparked an outcry from the BN component parties, notably the MCA, MIC, Gerakan and PBB, the Sarawak ruling party.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak however announced last night that BN would not be tabling the Bill.

The announcement last night now removes the obligation that would have existed for BN federal lawmakers to support the amendments were these tabled by the government.

Hadi’s Bill may now fail to even surface in Parliament; as he was only able to table the motion for his Bill last year after an Umno minister intervened to elevate it above government matters.

The RUU355 sought to raise Shariah sentencing limits to 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 strokes.