State govt to get a clearer picture from select committee on Syariah Courts Act before deciding stance
KUCHING: The state government will await the outcome of the select committee on the amendment of the Syariah Courts Act (Criminal Jurisdiction Act 1965) (Act 355) before making a decision to support or oppose it.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem told a press conference after meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi yesterday that the state would not make a decision on the amendment for the time being.
“We are happy that the matter (the amendment of Act 355) will be taken to a committee which will be represented by all parties including the opposition where the matter will be studied.
“Only after that, we will give a decision whether we oppose or object to it. For the time being, there will be no debate or voting on the matter, we just leave it as it is,” said Adenan.
He said as there was no voting or debate on the Bill in Parliament yesterday, Sarawak Members of Parliament would not have to take any stance.
“You must remember, (among) the 31 MPs for Sarawak, only six are Muslim. The rest are all non-Muslims,” he said.
Adenan reiterated the state’s stance against the implementation of hudud law. “If it is about hudud, our stand is very clear – no hudud in Sarawak,” he stressed.
“The DPM had already said that this (Act 355) is not hudud law. If it is hudud law, we will oppose it but he (Zahid) has just said it is not.”
He said BN component parties ought to reconsider their stance on the matter following Zahid’s explanation. However, Adenan said there should be no hurry to file the amendment of the Act in Parliament.
Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s Bill was not debated or put to the vote in Parliament yesterday.
The Bill seeks to increase the power of Syariah Courts’ to impose punishment up to 30 years’ imprisonment from the maximum of three years now, increase fine up to RM100,000 from the current maximum of RM5,000 and increase whipping to 100 lashes of the cane from maximum of six presently.
Hadi’s Bill has been met with strong opposition from non-Muslims for fear that once passed, it will pave the way for implementation of hudud law in Kelantan.
The Kelantan State Legislative Assembly passed an amendment to Kelantan’s Syariah Criminal Code 1993 last year, but it could not enforce it due to Act 355.