Rulers’ nod unnecessary for Shariah Bill, says Speaker

BY RAM ANAND
Parliament Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia said there is no need to get approval from the Conference of Rulers because the Bill was proposing to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 and not to introduce a new law. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s Bill to increase Shariah punishments does not need approval from the Conference of Rulers, Parliament Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia said today.

Pandikar said this was because the Bill was proposing to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 and not to introduce a new law.

He was commenting on the basis of a lawsuit filed by Mohamed Tawfik Ismail against him and the Dewan Rakyat secretary to stop the tabling to the Bill.

“There is no need to get approval from the Conference of Rulers because this [Act] has already existed since the 1960s,” he said.

Tawfik in his lawsuit claimed the Bill must receive prior approval from the Conference of Rulers as religious matters came under its purview.

He additionally claimed Hadi’s Bill would change “national policy”, and consequently must first be referred to the Rulers for consultation as required by the Federal Constitution’s Article 38, which he also alleged was not done.

The son for former deputy prime minister Tun Ismail Abdul Rahman yesterday served a writ of summons on Pandikar, who was named as one of two respondents in his lawsuit.

Pandikar earlier rejected Tawfik’s claim that the Bill may not proceed due to sub judice, saying the legal rule could not be applied to stop Parliament from making laws.