KUALA LUMPUR: Pandemonium erupted in the Dewan Rakyat when the speaker abruptly called a halt to the debate on the bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (also known as Act 355).
“If you have power, you are powerful; if you don’t use your power, you are bloody fool.
“Today, I don’t want to be a bloody fool,” said Pandikar Amin Mulia before announcing a stop to the debate.
The speaker had stopped the debate after PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan had finished explaining his reasons for tabling the bill, first tabled last year by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang.
Takiyuddin had been allowed to go on for almost 90 minutes.
Upon hearing the call to stop the debate, Rafizi Ramli (PKR-Pandan), protesting, said it was unfair to hear only one side.
“If you want to suspend us, suspend. You don’t hear the opposition; it is unfair,” he said sternly.
However, Pandikar refused to continue the debate, triggering a chorus of “takut” (scared) and “ayam” (chicken) from the opposition.
Ong Kian Ming (DAP-Serdang) declared that Pandikar was misusing his power, while Khalid Samad (Amanah-Shah Alam) repeatedly exclaimed, “Is this Islam? Is this Islam?”
At this point, the microphones were turned off.
Earlier, Pandikar had moved the Act 355 bill to the top of the Dewan Rakyat order paper, provoking outrage from MPs.
It prompted former Umno MP Mohamed Tawfik Ismail to declare today to be “a sad day for Malaysians” because “Parliament is dead”.
“Parliament is dead when the speaker who took an oath to protect preserve and defend the Constitution betrays the very oath he has taken,” said Tawfik, who last week filed a lawsuit seeking declarations and orders that would effectively stop the tabling of the bill.
“For the speaker to jump Hadi’s motion and place it at No 1 on the order paper is arrogance of the highest order.
“He wants to show his power. He wants to show he can abuse power and there is nothing anyone can do about it. That much is clear,” said Tawfik.
The bill seeks to increase the maximum punishment for shariah offences to 30 years’ jail, 100 lashes of the cane, and RM100,000 fine.