PETALING JAYA: DAP vice-chairperson Teresa Kok has hit back at MCA’s claim that DAP MPs in the Dewan Rakyat had failed to oppose Marang MP Abdul Hadi Awang when he was delivering his speech to table a motion to amend the shariah act last Thursday.
The Seputeh MP described the assertion by MCA deputy president Wee Ka Siong as irresponsible and baseless.
She said DAP MPs were prepared to state their stand against the proposed amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355) when the bill was to be debated and voted on.
“We did not expect the speaker to disallow debate and to abruptly adjourn the sitting,” she said in a statement today.
“The debate did not start and we were prevented from stating our views and stand. So how could Wee accuse us of doing little to oppose the bill?”
Wee, a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, had yesterday accused DAP MPs of being more interested in publicising themselves over Facebook after the bill was tabled by PAS president Hadi.
“Instead of objecting to the private member’s bill in the house, the DAP MPs were just doing ‘FB Live’ to attract more ‘likes’ in the corridors of Parliament building,” Wee had said in a statement.
“This shows DAP is talented in deploying social media to divert the rakyat’s attention from their failure to prevent PAS from tabling the proposed amendments to Act 355.”
The Ayer Hitam MP also noted that PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan, who is Kota Bharu MP, had mentioned when delivering his speech as the seconder of the bill that DAP leaders Lim Kit Siang and the late Karpal Singh had not objected when the same act was amended in Parliament in 1984 and 1989.
Wee said even Kit Siang’s son Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Bagan) and Karpal’s two sons, Gobind Singh and Ramkarpal Singh, were silent during the tabling on Thursday.
“Although MCA has only seven MPs compared with DAP’s 36, our two backbenchers stood up and threw questions against Hadi’s private member’s bill,” Wee said.
Wee also said Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia’s decision to allow Hadi to table the motion on the bill had nothing to do with political influence.
Kok today claimed there were clear signs there was a BN consensus to allow the motion to table the bill.
“If there was no BN consensus on the tabling, MCA MPs ought to have walked out of the Parliament to register their strong protest, but all MCA MPs kept silent,” she said.
“Wee’s lengthy attacks on DAP cannot hide the fact that MCA has failed in preventing the motion to table the Act 355 bill, whether there was or wasn’t a BN consensus in allowing it.”
She also claimed that MCA had displayed its political trait of being a “tiger head and snake tail” in compromising people’s interests and rights to stay in the BN coalition.
The bill seeks to increase the powers of shariah courts from a maximum of three years’ imprisonment, RM5,000 fine and six strokes of the cane, to a maximum of 30 years’ imprisonment, RM100,000 fine and 100 strokes of the cane.
Pandikar deferred debate over Hadi’s bill until Parliament reconvenes on July 24.