KUALA LUMPUR: Before criticising Pas' Private Member's Bill to empower the Syariah Courts, Malaysians should first think about why the amendment to RUU355 is important, said Umno's Setiu Member of Parliament Che Mohamad Zulkifly Jusoh.
He said pre-marital sex and baby-dumping cases have becoming an alarming issue that needs to be addressed.
"What better way than to amend the Act? The law was first approved in 1965 and it was only amended once in 1984.
"It's been more than 30 years so it is time to amend it. Haven't we heard enough about pre-marital sex cases which lead to baby dumping?
"Aren't we concerned about this problem at all?" he told reporters outside the Parliament lobby today.
Pas President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang had earlier tabled the proposed amendment to his bill, which seeks to increase the Syariah Courts’ punishment caps to 30-years jail, a fine of up to RM100,000 and up to 100 strokes of the rotan.
Meanwhile, MIC President Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam said the party will stand by the decision made by Barisan Nasional (BN).
He said, if Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia had opened the floor for a debate, he would have shared his thoughts on the bill.
"The decision was to allow Pas to present their case and there was an agreement that there will be no voting today.
"So as far as that is concerned, we followed the decision in the BN Council and as the Speaker did not allow further debate, MIC couldn’t participate in it.
"If the speaker had actually opened it for other parties to participate in the debate, then we would have given our viewpoints, from the constitutional legal point of view on what is the opinion of MIC as far as this is concerned," he said.
Asked if he knew that there would be no debate today, Subramaniam said BN parties have proposed that there should not be an open debate on the bill.
"We have expressed our views on this. It was BN’s decision, and we have to have a consensus and the fact that we did not have the consensus within the BN is why Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) had said we will allow Pas to table it but the government will not participate in tabling and supporting it."
Sharing a similar opinion was MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong, who reiterated the party's stance on the bill, adding that they will not change their mind on the matter.
"I take that this motion is not complete, because it's just a motion and just a way for them to give an explanation.
"As far as BN’s Supreme Council is concerned, the government will not take over the RUU355. That was the decision.”