Speaker defers Shariah Bill debate

BY RAM ANAND

KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia has postponed the debate on Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s Bill until Parliament next convenes.

After allowing opening arguments, Pandikar invoked his discretionary powers to halt the Bill’s proceedings when PAS’s Kota Baru MP Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan seconded the motion for the Bill with a lengthy explanation.

Hadi earlier presented his proposed amendments to Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 with his own justifications.

“I have the full right to decide how this meeting goes, I am not tied down by Standing Order 15,” Pandikar said, referring to the fact that it was a private member’s bill and the speaker had full discretion to decide on the proceedings.

“I want to use a saying – if you have power, you are powerful. If you don’t use your power, you are a bloody fool. Today, I don’t want to be a bloody fool,” he added.

He said that hearing explanations from Hadi and Takiyuddin had made the amendment bill, known as Act 355, become much more clearer in its reasoning.

Hadi presented his bill for less than 30 minutes before Takiyuddin spent close to two hours seconding the motion.

After a MP ends his seconding speech, debates would normally take place, followed by a vote whether to pass the motion.