Amanah recently organised a roundtable discussion in Penang to enlighten the public on the private member’s bill tabled by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang to amend the Shariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965.
The session was held at the Penang Institute (PI) by a special committee formed by the party on matters related to the bill, which seeks to give wider jurisdictions to Shariah court in the country, in a move many said was to pave the way for Kelantan PAS to implement hudud punishments.
The session in Penang was chaired by Kota Raja MP, Dr Mariah Mahmud, with a paper presented by Parit Buntar MP Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa to open discussions and debate over the issue.
PI director Dr Wong Cheng Huat said he welcomed the efforts by Amanah, saying they would help collect public feedback before the bill was debated in Parliament.
Others who participated were civil society representatives, including Muslim group ABIM and non-Muslim federation, Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST), as well as DAP lawmakers.
Dr Mariah thanked PI for initiating the discussion, saying it fulfilled the think tank’s role to carry out consultation with the public.
The programme would be extended to Perlis on August 6, with more planned in Kedah and other states.
The bill tabled by Hadi seeks to amend federal laws so that Shariah courts are not limited to imposing a maximum sentence of three years’ jail, RM5,000 and six lashes of the cane on Muslim offenders.
It also seeks to expand the jurisdiction of Shariah courts in dealing with crimes committed by Muslims.
The bill received criticism after several moves by PAS and Umno were seen as politically motivated.