Things are unsettling more in Barisan Nasional (BN) than among opposition parties following the tabling of the private member’s bill by Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang to give federal recognition to Islamic capital punishments for Muslims.
MCA led the charge yesterday, lambasting Umno for playing a “dangerous game”, a day after the open admission by Pas Youth leader Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Aziz that both Umno and Pas had been cooperating to ensure Hadi’s bill saw the light of day in Parliament.
“Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is urged, at this critical juncture of nation building, to show political leadership and reiterate his commitment in 2011 not to implement the hudud law as envisaged by PAS’ Hadi Awang.
“No amount of short term political gain can ever justify the constitutional duty to this Nation as undertaken by political leaders when taking oath as legislators and assuming public posts,” said the chairman of MCA’s special committee on Shariah, Gan Ping Sieu.
Najib immediately attempted to play down his party’s role in the bill, saying the proposed amendment was not about introducing hudud but was to strengthen Shariah laws.
“I would like to clarify that the amendment (bill) is not hudud law, it is just to enhance the punishment from six times (of the rotan) to a few times, depending on the offences,” he said as quoted by Malaysiakini.
Other top Umno leaders also hurried to defend their support for Pas’s move, only to get a stronger response from MCA.
This morning, the party’s legal bureau head Datuk Tay Puay Chuan hit out at Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for saying that the amendments would only affect Muslims in Kelantan.
“If and when the proposed amendments are passed, the Syariah Court can exercise its punitive authority authority not only Kelantan but in all other states in Malaysia. Hence, not only are Kelantanese Muslims affected but all Malaysians too.
“Thus, the Deputy Prime Minister’s rhetoric is confusing and stands to be corrected,” said Tay.
The bill tabled on Thursday 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.
At least three other BN parties have joined MCA.
Top leaders MIC, Gerakan and SUPP stood together at a press conference yesterday to warn against any move to facilitate more Islamic laws in the country.
“We are also disappointed by the fact that the matter was not discussed within the Cabinet or the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council,” said the statement.