Thursday, July 7

DAP concerned about turn of event on Act 355


KUCHING: DAP is concerned about the turn of event regarding the stance of state Barisan Nasional (BN) on the amendment to Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965,  commonly known as Act 355.

DAP Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen  said the state BN under the late chief minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem had opposed the Bill, but the stance had now changed.

“Initially, when the matter (Act 355) was brought up, Adenan made it very clear to oppose it. All Sarawak MPs should oppose but in the last two months, this clear position has changed.

“Why is there a change on the stance on Act 355? Does it show that Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg is incapable and doesn’t have  the courage to stand up against the  wishes and policies of Umno?” Chong asked.

Chong told a press conference at DAP headquarters yesterday, that the  recent development on Act 355 also clearly showed that PAS’ value to Umno exceeded ‘the value of all BN component parties’.

“This clearly shows that Umno’s wish is always there and other component parties have no say,” Chong, who is Kota Sentosa assemblyman, said.

Chong also said the claim that Act 355 would not affect Sabah and Sarawak was a ‘clear-cut’ lie, adding that the passing of the Bill was a ‘backdoor violation’ and would remove the constitutional rights of the state.

“To claim that it (Act 355) will not affect East Malaysia is a clear lie and an excuse of Sarawak BN to support the passing of the bill.”

He added there were thousands of Sarawakians living in Peninsular Malaysia who would be affected by Act 355 once passed.

Chong also argued that once Act 355 was passed, and like other Bills, it would only need the signature of a minister for it (Bill) to be  extended to the state. There would be no longer any debate and resolutions in parliament.

“In a nutshell, Act 355 is a further erosion and encroachment into Sarawak’s rights when it joined to form Malaysia, and it is done right under the nose of BN Sarawak,” Chong said.