Opposition parties PKR and Amanah have no qualms about strengthening the powers of the shariah courts in meting out harsher punishments.
PKR Vice-President Tian Chua, however, admitted that there were still some reservations about PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang’s Private Member’s Bill – which aims to increase penalties for shariah offences – due to the ambiguity that surrounds it.
Speaking to reporters outside the Dewan, the Batu MP said the Bill tabled by Hadi was meant to reform the shariah courts, which he said was “long overdue”.
“The ambiguity needs to be cleared, specifically whether the amendment will contravene the Constitution.”
Meanwhile, Amanah Communications Director Khalid Samad said the PAS splinter party would support “in principle” the move to give more powers to the shariah courts, but stressed it must be within the framework of the Constitution.
The Shah Alam MP also said the party had drafted its own motion, which he claimed was clearer and specifically targeted at empowering the shariah courts.
He also said that the party had submitted the motion to the Dewan last week through its Kota Raja MP, Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud.
Khalid said Amanah had also discussed its alternative motion with DAP and PKR, adding that both have agreed in principle to the motion as it was within the framework of the Constitution.
“We talk about empowering the shariah punishments in terms of increasing efficiency and competency.
“We believe our motion is much more acceptable to all parties.”
Hadi’s Bill had previously caused PAS and DAP to sever political ties with each other, a move that resulted in the death of Pakatan Rakyat.
When it was first brought up, it was perceived that the Bill was to pave the way for hudud to be implemented in Kelantan, which detractors argued was unconstitutional.
However, PAS has since clarified that it merely wanted to increase the punishments for several shariah offences.