Sarawak BN to follow CM’s decision on Act 355

BY KAMLES KUMAR
A man prays at the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque, in Shah Alam June 7, 2016. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 — The Sarawak Barisan Nasional will follow Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Abang Openg’s lead in relation to the Bill that will enhance the penalties imposed by the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said all Sarawakian MPs had already met with Amar but had yet to make a decision on the private member’s Bill brought by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.

“The new chief minister he hasn’t established anything, so we are waiting for a decision from Barisan Nasional. We make our stand based on the stand in Sarawak.

“If Sarawak decides not to support, then Sarawak MPs will not support. If the leader of BN says support, then we will support,” he told reporters when met at the Parliament lobby today.

The Santubong MP took a swipe at the Opposition and said BN does not want to pre-empt the Bill without looking at its contents.

“It’s so difficult to assess; one day we hear one stand and the next day we hear another. This is not like BN. They only make one stand unlike DAP or Tun Mahathir or Muhyiddin.

“So, I don’t value their stand as it may be influenced by their political surroundings,” Wan Junaidi said referring to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s leaders Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Parliament, which is now in session, is due to debate the amendments to the Bill which was tabled by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Awang Hadi, seeking to empower the Shariah courts by increasing its powers in meting out sentences.

It also proposed to empower the Shariah courts to impose maximum penalties which include up to 30 years’ jail, 100 strokes of the rotan and RM100,000 fine.

Currently, the Shariah courts are empowered to mete out sentences up from three years’ jail, six strokes of the rotan and RM5,000 fine.