The State Barisan Nasional (BN) will make its final stand on the amendment of Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355) after the meeting between Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties in Sarawak and Sabah and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, who attended the first meeting on March 13, said he has previously expressed his concern that the amendment would infringe Article 8 of the Federal Constitution which safeguards equality for everyone is the eyes of the law.
“The state government’s position is very clear and I have also made it very clear that when it comes to Hudud law, it is not applicable to Sarawak.
“This is the same stand made by the late ‘Tok Nan’ (Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem) and we are having the same stand,” he reiterated when speaking to reporters after witnessing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) and Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) here yesterday.
The MoU was on SEB’s commitment to provide turtle landing sites at Tanjung Datu National Park, Pulau Talang-Talang Besar and Pulau Talang-Talang Kechil with green energy via solar centralised system at SEB headquarters.
Among those present were Public Utilities Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, Assistant Minister for Public Utilities (Electricity and Telecommunications) Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi, Assistant Minister for Public Utilities (Water Supply) Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn, State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Morshidi Abdul Ghani, and SEB chairman Datuk Amar Abdul Hamed Sepawi.
Abang Johari also pointed out that the Amendment Bill to Act 355 concerns the Syariah law and not Hudud law.
“This bill is Syariah and not Hudud. But even if it’s Syariah, we are expressing our concerns because of the penalty emitted from the bill which to me is discriminatory between Muslims and non-Muslims.
“This may conflict with Article 8 of the Federal Constitution so I’ve expressed my concern on this during the meeting,” he said, adding that he had to delegate Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas to attend the second meeting due to his official visit to China recently.
Nevertheless, he noted that the decision on this still lies in the hands of the federal government.
“Whatever outcome that arises from the meeting will be announced by our Prime Minister. So whether the BN Sarawak will vote for the amendment will depend on this outcome.
“But if it concerns Hudud, no. We will oppose,” he stressed.
Najib is expected to table the Bill during the last day of this parliamentary session on April 6, according to a report from Oriental Daily.
But due to strong objection from BN component parties in Sarawak and Sabah, he is speculated to be postponing the tabling for a day.
On the other hand, with April 7 to 9 being set as days of retreat for BN leaders, there is further speculation that the tabling of the Bill, should Najib insist on doing during this parliamentary session, will be on April 10 where voting would most likely be called for it to be passed.
Source : Marilyn Ten @ Borneo Post Online