Parliamentarians from Sarawak and Sabah must not shift their stand on Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355) just because the government has decided not to take over the Bill.
State PKR chairman Baru Bian said this is because the effect will be the same if it is passed, and therefore, the MPs from Sarawak and Sabah must stand united to vote against the Bill.
“The worry is that some MPs may think that with this new development, they can absent themselves or abstain if it is put to the vote.
“With the requirement of only a simple majority to pass, all Sabahan and Sarawakian MPs must ensure that they are present to vote against it should it be tabled and put to the vote. Do not be lulled into complacency by this latest turn of events but remain on full alert,” he said in a press statement yesterday.
Baru, who is Ba Kelalan assemblyman, was commenting on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s statement on Wednesday that the government will not be tabling a Bill to amend Act 355 and the one which had been tabled by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang would remain a Private Member’s Bill.
“Whether Hadi’s bill remains a private member’s bill (as appears now to be the case) or becomes a government bill, our view remains the same.
“Our question is why the government decided to take over the Bill in the first place, without any consideration for the rights and feelings of the other groups in the country, and without any care about whether the Bill was in keeping with the Federal Constitution.
“That act itself shows the type of leaders we have – they should have realised the Bill is not suitable because of its contents and its implications to the people of the country as a whole. Whether it is labelled hudud or Syariah, it is still a violation of Article 8 of the Federal Constitution,” Baru said.
He said theories abound as to why the Umno Supreme Council decided not to take over Hadi’s Act 355.
“Ultimately it was because they knew they would not have the numbers to push the bill through, and wanted to save themselves the embarrassment. Thankfully we have various individuals and groups, including our Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, who voiced their concern about the unconstitutionality of the bill, particularly with regard to Article 8.”
As for BN/Umno, Baru said they will use the face-saving reason of consensus to explain their about-turn on taking up the Bill.
However, he said the issue that must not be forgotten is that they had announced the takeover of the Bill without consulting component parties, which showed that they do not really care about consensus.
“What comes through clearly is that this whole saga is but an episode of the political game between PAS and Umno, and neither of these parties comes out of it looking good.”
Source : @ Borneo Post Online