Hornbill Unleashed

March 23, 2017

Getting to the bottom

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:02 AM

Najib Tun Razak has held separate meetings with leaders of each Barisan Nasional (BN) component party from Sarawak and Sabah yesterday to discuss their parties’ stance on the amendment to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 which is commonly known as Act 355.

Parti Rakyat Sarawak(PRS) president Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing confirmed the meetings.

“Yes, all BN heads of political parties from Sarawak and Sabah met the Prime Minister on RUU 355 (Act 355). However, details of discussion are not for public consumption yet,” Masing, who is also Deputy Chief Minister, told The Borneo Post.

Najib was said to be meeting top leaders of all BN component parties due to their strong objections to the tabling of the Bill on March 29.

Apart from party leaders from Sarawak and Sabah, Najib also met top leaders from Peninsular Malaysian parties such as MCA, MIC and Gerakan.

According to Oriental Daily, Najib initially planned to table the Bill on the last day of this parliamentary session — April 6 (Thursday).

Due to the strong objection from BN component parties in Sabah and Sarawak, he is speculated to be postponing its tabling for a day.

However, as Apr 7 to 9 have been set as days of retreat for BN leaders, it is thus further speculated that the tabling of the Bill, if Najib were to insist on doing it in this parliamentary session, will be on Apr 10, where voting would most likely be called for it to be passed.

In a reply to Oriental Daily whether there would be an extension of the current parliamentary session, the press secretary to the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Datuk Seri Azlina gave a “may be” reply.

The Bill, ever since its introduction by Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang as a Private Member’s Bill, has been facing strong objection, not only from the opposition but BN component parties.

Presently in Sarawak, two out of the four state BN component parties — PRS and Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) — have expressed that their MPs will vote against it.

There are six MPs in PRS and one in SUPP.

Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) which has three MPs had made it plain that it would not object to the Bill as party president Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing believed that the Bill would not affect the non-Muslims.

However, as there has been a strong resentment of the Bill from the general public in Sarawak, it is not known whether the other two SPDP MPs — Mas Gading MP Anthony Nogeh and Baram MP Anyi Ngau — would support the Bill as instructed.

Meanwhile, former SPDP president who is also Saratok MP Tan Sri William Mawan has expressed support for the Bill.

The new acting president of PBB, who is also Chief Minister, Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg has yet to make a clear stand though he did describe the Bill as “discriminatory and unconstitutional”.

Abang Johari had expressed his stance to Najib before travelling to China.

Acting deputy PBB president Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah who attended yesterday’s meeting could not be reached for comments.

There are 14 MPs in PBB.

Hadi’s Bill is seeking amendments to Act 355 to enhance the punishment meted out by the Syariah Court.

The Bill has proposed to increase jail term from the present maximum of three years to 30 years; fine of RM5,000 to RM100,000 and the present maximum six lashes of cane to 100 lashes.

The Kelantan State Legislative Assembly had passed an amendment to Kelantan’s Syariah Criminal Code 1993 in 2015 but it could not enforce it due to Act 355.

The Bill has been met with strong opposition from non-Muslims for fear that once passed, it will pave the way for the implementation of hudud not only in Kelantan but throughout the nation.

It has also been rejected because the Bill seeks to create a duo legal system which is undermining the basic structure of the Federal Constitution.

Due to the strong opposition from other component parties such as MCA and MIC and other component parties, Umno, which is also in support of the Bill, has decided to take over it and table it as a government bill.


Source : Lian Cheng @ Borneo Post Online


 

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