PETALING JAYA: The ruling coalition’s member parties are not all obliged to support the controversial bill on Shariah that Umno seems to favour, said the MIC Youth Chief.
Speaking to FMT today, C Sivarraajh said that in multi-ethnic Malaysia, Umno must respect the views of its allies in the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.
He was responding to a Malaysiakini report in which Umno Supreme Council member Ahmad Maslan said BN component parties were compelled to support the bill once the government took over the private member’s bill. Ahmad said the component parties were obligated as part of the ruling coalition.
Ahmad was talking about the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, proposed by a PAS leader and favoured by Umno, in a new cozy relationship between the two rival Malay-dominated parties.
Umno has backed the tabling of amendments to the bill that would expand the jurisdiction of Islamic courts in the country and empower them to dole out harsher penalties.
Sivarraajh said Umno should provide BN component parties with a proper explanation on the matter.
“Ahmad must take some responsibility to explain the bill and not simply expect component parties to oblige. Don’t belittle us just because you want to make PAS happy. We will never tolerate this,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gerakan Deputy Youth chief Andy Yong said that Ahmad’s remarks are wrong in principle because no party could be compelled to support any bill.
“The Standing Order applies to individual MPs and not entire parties,” he told FMT today.
But Yong added that BN member parties must first analyse the proposed amendments, before deciding.
“This is why Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong has proposed the formation of a parliamentary select committee on the matter.”
The private member’s bill to amend the Shariah Court Act has been a contentious issue in recent times.
The motion to amend the act is set to be debated during the next Dewan Rakyat session in March next year.
After the first reading is complete, the government will pick it up as a second bill and minister in the prime minister’s department Jamil Khir Bahrom who is the minister in charge of Islamic affairs, will read it as a government bill.