KUALA LUMPUR: The statement that Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties would be unable to object to amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355) once the relevant bill is taken over by the Federal Government is baseless.
MCA vice-president Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun, in lashing out at Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Ahmad Maslan, said this was because the bill, currently a Private Member’s Bill, has not been taken over by the government.
“Secondly, even if there is the possibility that the bill will be approved, it still has to get the consensus in the Cabinet and also BN.
“Therefore, it is my view that this statement by the International Trade and Industry deputy minister is baseless and I disagree with it,” she told reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday.
Chew, who is also Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister, stressed that they must go through present processes and procedures, which is through the Cabinet and BN.
“You cannot jump the queue on this one,” she said when asked to comment on the statement by Ahmad Maslan.
Ahmad Maslan had reportedly said that BN component parties would be compelled to support the bill, when it is taken over by the government.
Various political parties and social movements have called for lawmakers to reject the Private Member’s Bill, which they claim will make way for the implementation of Islamic corporal punishment.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom had reportedly said the tabling of the Private Member’s Bill by Pas president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang is geared towards further strengthening the existing Syariah law.
He has said that the amendment will increase the number of punishments in the Syariah Court which has not been reviewed for many years.
Among the penalties which will be amended include whipping of not more than six times, fine not exceeding RM5,000 and jail term of not more than three years.
He had said the motion was not aimed at introducing a new law as propagated by certain quarters, and that it will also not directly affect non-Muslims.
-New Straits Times