PETALING JAYA: Umno’s briefing to Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties on PAS’s Private Member’s Bill to strengthen the shariah courts’ penal code has been postponed indefinitely to allow more time for the parties to discuss the issue in depth, said the Selangor Gerakan Youth leader.
Ivanpal Grewal Singh said BN parties will now have more time to discuss the controversial bill before the matter was brought to Prime Minister Najib Razak and his deputy, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
“The BN parties agreed to the postponement. They will have more time to look at the bill thoroughly and study the advantages and disadvantages of the Bill before the main pow-wow.
“This way, the matter will be sorted out once and for all,” he told FMT on Thursday.
The first meeting was initially scheduled for tomorrow.
PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang had tabled the Private Member’s Bill to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 on May 26. Debate however was put off to the next Dewan Rakyat sitting in October.
Earlier, Gerakan Secretary-General Liang Teck Meng said the indefinite postponement could be due to the by-elections on June 18 in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar.
Liang said although the party’s stand on the Bill was clear in that it would hinder unity in the country, they were nevertheless open to any sort of discussions.
“We are open to listen to all viewpoints.”
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mah Siew Keong said the BN component parties had met Najib and Ahmad Zahid on the Private Member’s bill.
“It was agreed among the BN leadership that a consensus decision will be made in accordance with the BN spirit.”
Mah said any attempt to amend the law should comply with the Federal Constitution and that the matter will be solved before the next Dewan Rakyat sitting in October.
“We will argue on the incompatibilities of the Bill by Hadi which seeks to enhance the punitive powers of the shariah courts.
“We are firm that any attempt to amend the law should comply with the Federal Constitution,” Mah said.
He was confident that the matter could be resolved before Parliament met again in October.