HULU KELANG: Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali dodged reporters’ questions today about an officially-sanctioned sermon that praised a private member’s bill brought by PAS to expand the powers of the Syariah Courts.
Pressed by reporters for comment on the issue, Azmin instead stressed that the sermon did not mention by name PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, who had tabled the bill in the Dewan Rakyat earlier this year.
“The sermon didn’t mention the PAS president’s name,” he told reporters at the Selangor state government’s Raya open house in Taman Seri Keramat today.
The Raya sermon read out in mosques in Selangor on Wednesday called on Muslims in the country to be thankful for the tabling of the bill. The sermon was issued by the Selangor religious department, Jais.
Sometimes dubbed the “hudud Bill”, it was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat by Abdul Hadi on May 26 and is scheduled for debate in October.
Azmin, who is PKR deputy president, has been put in a tight spot because his government comprises representatives of both PAS and DAP, which opposes the bill claiming it would pave the way for full implementation of hudud Islamic criminal penalties.
While DAP has ended its political relationship with the Islamist party, PKR still maintains ties with PAS.
In Wednesday’s sermon, Jais also thanked the civil court for rejecting a legal challenge from the Sisters in Islam group which sought to challenge the validity of a fatwa labeling the organisation as deviant.
In the past, Azmin has stated that the fatwa should be respected, without delving further into the issue.
The open house today was attended by the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, the Raja Muda of Selangor, Tengku Amir Shah Alhaj, and senior Selangor state government leaders.