KUCHING: Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), have reiterated they will vote against the amendment to the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act, or the Hadi Bill.
“SUPP will not waver in its stance and will continue to protect and uphold the Federal Constitution,” said SUPP president Sim Kui Hian.
Sim and PRS secretary-general Joseph Salang Gandum issued separate statements on the matter.
The Borneo Post reported Salang as saying: “Umno cannot just force the issue down our throats. That won’t be in line with the BN constitution.”
BN’s decision on the Bill should be made in the BN spirit, said Sim. “The BN’s policy-making framework is stipulated in the coalition’s constitution,” the report quoted him as saying.
Except for decisions under Article 15 (discipline) and Article 22 (interpretation of rules), added Sim, Clause 13 of the BN constitution states “decisions at meetings of the supreme council shall be unanimous”.
Sim said the BN supreme council would meet in January 2017.
The two leaders were commenting on a statement by Umno supreme council member Ahmad Maslan that all BN MPs must support Hadi’s Bill.
The two leaders pointed out that Ahmad was not a BN supreme council member and, therefore, had no authority to make such a statement.
Both Salang and Sim said the amendment should be discussed by the BN supreme council and component parties must unanimously agree on the Bill if it was to be approved by BN.
Sim said the amendment should not violate the Federal Constitution and should be in line with the BN spirit.
The amendments should take into consideration the multiracial and multi-religious nature of the nation, said Sim.
The amendment bill, introduced by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, has since been adopted by the BN.
The bill seeks to extend the jurisdiction of shariah courts.
The amendments proposed by Hadi would enhance the powers of the shariah court to mete out stiffer punishments.
The Kelantan Assembly passed an amendment to the Shariah Criminal Code 1993 last year. It can only be enforced if Hadi’s Bill is passed.
There is fear that the amendments, once passed, will bring hudud law to Kelantan and Terengganu, and gradually to the rest of the nation.