The MCA and Gerakan presidents’ threat to quit the cabinet if Pas’s private member’s bill on hudud is passed is meaningless if they do not press for the sacking of Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, for expediting its tabling in Parliament last Thursday, says DAP’s Lim Kit Siang.
“Instead of making meaningless statements after the horses had bolted, Liow and Mah should restore the status quo ante before the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, stood up in Parliament after Thursday’s lunch break to propose the Ministerial motion to give priority to Hadi’s hudud motion, which was listed as Item 15 in the Order Paper, leapfrogging 14 other items including five items of official business,” said Lim referring to MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and his Gerakan counterpart Datuk Mah Siew Keong.
Liow and Mah said they would quit their cabinet posts if the bill tabled by Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, to seek the strengthening of Shariah laws in Kelantan, was passed.
MCA and BN component parties MIC, Gerakan and SUPP have expressed disappointment after it emerged that Umno had backed Pas to allow the bill’s tabling.
Lim also said the cabinet should renounce its support for Hadi’s bill following Azalina’s action in Parliament.
He said the bill would lapse in the next parliamentary sitting in October, when it would be debated, unless the government decided to give priority to official business as has been the norm.
“If Liow and Mah are not prepared to restore the status quo ante before Azalina’s Ministerial motion on Thursday, they would not have much credibility even if they make all sorts of promises and threats,” said Lim.
Lim added that a day before Hadi’s bill was tabled, a Sabah BN leader had urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak not to prioritise the bill as it was against the BN and cabinet’s decision.
“What did Liow and Mah do in the 24 hours before Azalina moved the Minister’s motion to give priority to Hadi’s private member’s bill motion on Thursday after lunch?” asked Lim.
Meanwhile, MCA leaders continued to warn Umno against supporting Hadi’s bill with threats of quitting the government.
In a statement today, MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong backed Liow and said he too would quit his ministerial post.
“We will relinquish our ministerial positions should the Bill be passed in the Dewan Rakyat. This is not a threat but a responsible decision of MCA leaders,” he said.
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.