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DAP: Deafening silence among Sarawak BN MPs on shariah bill

 | December 20, 2016

Leave BN to vote against the amendment, Sarawak DAP urges MPs.

chong-sarawak

KUCHING: There is a “deafening silence” among Sarawak’s BN MPs regarding the bill seeking to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, which is expected to be tabled next month.

Sarawak is a bastion of BN support, boasting 25 MPs, six of them Muslims. DAP has five MPs and PKR one.

“When this bill was proposed by PAS president Hadi Awang, we saw very strong opposition to it,” said Sarawak DAP leader Chong Chieng Jen.

“Objections by Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP). Even (Chief Minister) Adenan (Satem) had instructed all the BN MPs from Sarawak to object to the bill.

“Now that Umno has adopted the whole bill, there is a deafening silence among Sarawak BN,” Chong told reporters here today.

PAS president and Marang MP Abdul Hadi Awang had completed the first reading of the proposed amendments in Parliament last month as part of parliamentary procedure.

Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Jamil Khir Baharom is expected to read it as a government bill at the next Parliament sitting.

“The contents of the whole bill have not changed. It is the same. It is still a hudud bill. But now it will be tabled in the name of the BN.

“SUPP’s strong objection to the bill, now that the bill is being picked up by the government, has changed suddenly. They’ve become quiet. They do not even dare to voice any opinion,” Chong said.

He charged that Sarawak BN followed the lead of Putrajaya and of BN’s dominant component, Umno.

“This only proves another fact that within BN, Umno is the taiko (big brother) and whatever Umno decides, all the others have to follow.

“No matter how strong the words Adenan speaks in Sarawak, when it comes to the implementation of BN policies, it is still Umno’s wishes that matter.”

Chong said Sarawak BN would need to leave the coalition to vote against the bill.

“The hudud bill is a clear example of Umno’s supremacy in BN. As for other aspects, like education and economic policies, which are also adversely affecting Sarawak, Adenan is also powerless to change.

“As long as Sarawak BN is within the national BN, where Umno supremacy reigns, at the end of the day, it is Umno’s wishes that matter. Not Adenan’s wishes.

“Adenan can be a kampung hero but that’s it. He can’t do anything when it comes to crunch time.

“The only way to get out of this situation is for Sarawak BN to quit BN.”

Hadi’s bill was first tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on May 26. His bill seeks to equip shariah courts with greater punitive powers.

Hadi moved the bill again on Nov 24, but with a slight amendment to his original bill. The amended version caps the shariah court’s sentencing powers to 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 strokes of the cane.

Currently, shariah punishment is capped at a three-year prison term, RM5,000 fine, and six strokes of the cane.


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