PKR and DAP’s 18 Muslim lawmakers can ‘save’ Malaysia from hudud, says Gerakan

Eighteen is the "magic number" in Pakatan Rakyat's hands which can stop PAS from implementing hudud, said Gerakan, a ruling coalition party, as the Islamist opposition charges ahead with its plan to implement the Muslim penal code in Kelantan.

PAS's allies DAP and PKR can order 18 of their Muslim lawmakers not to support the private members' bill that PAS intends to move in Parliament to enable Kelantan to enforce hudud, said Gerakan secretary-general Liang Teck Meng.

"I want PKR and DAP leaders to get their Muslim MPs not to vote for the bill. Forget about politics, these 18 can determine the country's destiny.

 "I hope PKR and DAP agree with me on this," Liang told The Malaysian Insider.

The PAS-led Kelantan government has moved to convene a special sitting of the legislative assembly on December 29 to amend its Islamic laws, which will pave the way for the private members' bill to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat at its next sitting.

Of the 37 parliamentary seats held by DAP, two of its federal representatives are Muslims, namely Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari and Raub's Datuk Ariff Sabri; while 16 out of 29 PKR MPs are Muslims.

The private member's bill, when tabled in the Dewan Rakyat, will need a simple majority of 112 MPs supporting it in order for it to be passed. The bill can be tabled once the Kelantan state assembly passes the amendment to its Shariah Criminal Code Enactment II.

The ruling Barisan Nasional's Umno currently has 88 MPs, of which all, with the exception of deputy speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee, are Muslims.

PAS holds 21 seats in Parliament and if both it and Umno collaborate, they would still be four seats short of the 112 needed to pass the bill.

Gerakan secretary-general Liang Teck Meng says the party will persuade Umno to refrain from supporting PAS's bill. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, December 19, 2014.Liang said Gerakan would try to persuade its coalition partner Umno to refrain from supporting PAS's bill, but at the same time, urged PKR and DAP to convince its Muslim MPs not to give their backing as well.

"If you believe in moderation, please convince your Muslim MPs not to support the bill," he said.

He also said PAS's insistence on hudud showed it never had any intention to abandon it despite strong protests from its Pakatan allies, especially DAP.

Implementing hudud is not in the joint manifesto of the three Pakatan parties.

Secular DAP has repeatedly demanded that PAS shelve its plans in Kelantan, stressing that the controversial Islamic criminal code was not part of the opposition's common policy framework.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim recently admitted that the PAS-led Kelantan government's plans to table an amendment on hudud in its state assembly was problematic, as it had no powers to enforce the Islamic criminal law in the state.

"There will be many problems because you have to amend federal laws‎. You don't have the power to enforce (hudud).

"Let's say they do it anyway. Who will make the arrests? Who will bring them (the suspects) to prison?

"It's not within their (the state government's) powers. So there are a lot of problems," Anwar had said.

PAS's attempt to push for hudud is not new. Previous attempts by the party to table similar bills were blocked by the BN-dominated Parliament and had never been voted on.

But in recent times, Umno had openly expressed support for PAS’s latest bid, and the main obstacles had turned out to be the Islamist party's own allies.

In April, PAS had announced plans to introduce two private members’ bills in Parliament to allow it to enforce hudud in Kelantan.

But in doing so, it again resurrected the on-and-off conflict with DAP; a dispute that dates back to the 1990s and which had stymied past attempts at political collaboration.

However, in May, following protests and severe criticism, PAS decided it would postpone the tabling of the bill to allow time for a joint federal and Kelantan government technical committee to study the implementation of the Kelantan Shariah Penal Code II.

That committee had since met several times and stated that it was on track to introducing hudud law. – December 19, 2014.



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