After tabling, Gerakan says will persuade Umno not to back hudud Bill

KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 ― Gerakan president Datuk Mah Siew Keong said today that his party will attempt to convince its Barisan Nasional (BN) ally Umno not to support PAS’s hudud Bill.

He also expressed concern with the unconstitutionality of PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s Private Member’s Bill that seeks to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 [Act 355] to empower the Islamic courts to impose any punishment allowed by shariah law, besides the death sentence.

“We will do our part to convince Umno MPs not to support the PAS Bill,” Mah toldMalay Mail Online when contacted.

BN lynchpin and Malay nationalist party Umno has the largest number of federal lawmakers, comprising 86 of the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat. Islamist opposition party PAS only has 14 MPs. Combined, they would still fall short of a majority needed to pass the Bill.

Umno minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said submitted a motion in Parliament earlier today to push Hadi’s Bill up on the order paper, but the Marang MP asked for it to be deferred to the next parliamentary meeting.

Mah said in a press statement that “unfettered” sentencing powers bestowed on the Shariah Court violated the laws of natural justice “as all laws must have limits”.

“Gerakan is of the opinion that this is an attempt to circumvent settled constitutional and legal principles by conferring unlimited sentencing powers to the Shariah Criminal Courts to facilitate the introduction of Islamic criminal law.

“This will lead to the duplicity of laws as there will be two sets of laws for the same offences in the country in contravention of the Article 8 of the Federal Constitution,” he added, referring to the constitutional provision on equality before the law.

PAS is seeking to amend Act 355 to pave the way for hudud law, a controversial Islamic penal code that includes punishments like amputation of limbs and stoning.

Shariah courts are currently authorised to issue sentences limited to a RM5,000 fine, three years’ jail and six strokes of caning.

* An earlier version of the story contained errors which have since been corrected.





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