DAP’s Lim Kit Siang has questioned the claim by MCA chief Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai that the latter had not been informed that the Cabinet would support moving up the private member’s bill on Shariah tabled by Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awnag on Thursday.
Lim even offered to meet with Liow to seek clarification after the transport minister claimed that he was in the dark about plans to allow the motion to be tabled.
“I am prepared to meet Liow any time. Just name the place, date and time.”
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said had supported the tabling of the motion by Hadi, attracting strong reactions from Umno’s allies in Barisan Nasional (BN) after it emerged that the Malay party had backed the Pas move.
Several MCA, MIC and SUPP leaders have since threatened to quit their Cabinet posts if Umno MPs vote in favour of the Pas motion, which could pave the way for the introduction of hudud punishment in Pas-led Kelantan.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and other Umno leaders have defended Hadi, saying the bill was not about hudud but about taking out certain limitations for the Shariah court.
Lim questioned Liow’s claim and said a Sabah BN leader had written to Najib one day before Hadi’s motion was tabled, warning the Umno president against any move to prioritise the bill in Parliament.
“Liow’s professed ignorance of Azalina’s Ministerial motion last Thursday is a great political mystery, as a day earlier on Wednesday, a Minister and head of a Barisan Nasional component party from Sabah had written an urgent letter to Najib expressing the opposition of the MPs of his party to any proposal to prioritise Hadi’s hudud private members’ bill motion,” said the DAP veteran who is also the Gelang Patah MP in a statement today.
He urged Liow to use the coming Cabinet meeting on Friday “to impress on the Prime Minister on the importance and urgency of ensuring that there should not be any grounds for ambiguity on Hadi’s motion”.
He also urged Liow to demand an emergency meeting of the BN Supreme Council to resolve the crisis in the coalition following Hadi’s move.
The bill tabled by Hadi seeks to amend the Shariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, so that the Shariah court is not limited to imposing a maximum sentence of three years’ jail, RM5,000 and six lashes of the cane – or what is commonly referred to as the “365 safeguards” – to limit paving the way for hudud in Kelantan or other states wanting to implement the Islamic capital punishment.