‘Rulers’ approval not required for shariah law amendments’

Pandikar-Amin-shariahlawKUALA LUMPUR: PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang does not need to obtain the Conference of Rulers’ approval for his private member’s bill, says Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia.

This is because Hadi’s bill proposes to amend an existing law – the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 – not create a new one, explained Pandikar.

“When the amendments were made in 1984, they didn’t require the Conference of Rulers’ approval as the Act already existed. It was only being amended,” he said in the dewan today.

His statement came following a lawsuit filed by Mohamed Tawfik Ismail on Friday. He served the writ of summons on Pandikar yesterday.

Tawfik, who is the son of former deputy prime minister Ismail Abdul Rahman, has named Pandikar as one of two respondents in the lawsuit.

He has also asked Pandikar to halt the tabling of Hadi’s bill as it may not be allowed to proceed once the lawsuit goes to court due to sub judice.

Pandikar, in past decisions, had relied on sub judice to disallow debate on certain issues. When a certain matter is before the judges, it is sub judice to discuss them outside of courts.

Pandikar said he had included the motion in the Dewan Rakyat order paper today after examining the situation from all angles beforehand.

“I don’t do things as I like because my actions will be recorded in the Hansard. I don’t want to look like a fool to my friends,” he said.

Gooi Hsiao Leung (PKR-Alor Setar) had earlier in the dewan referred to the Dewan’s Standing Order 49(2) which said that a private member’s bill must have a significant purpose.

“If I’m not mistaken, Tawfik’s lawsuit said the speaker had failed to take into account the fact that the rulers’ approval has yet to be obtained.”