Will Hadi’s bill be fair to the poor, query Pakatan MPs

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PETALING JAYA: PKR’s vice-president Rafizi Ramli today asked if the amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355) would be implemented fairly among society’s elite and the poor.

He asked if the religious enforcement officers would take action against everyone.

“I know who (Muslim MPs) consume liquor. Would religious enforcement officers take action?

“I know I am now speaking outside of the Dewan (Rakyat), but what if there was a royal family member who consumes alcohol?

“Would an enforcement officer arrest him or her and penalise them under Act 355?

“I am concerned that (the act) will be targeted at the poor but not on the rich because the poor could be seen as weak,” he said, adding that it would cause Islam to be seen as being unfair as the poor will be punished.

Muslims in Malaysia are not allowed to consume alcohol and indulge in sex before marriage. Muslims found in close proximty can also be nabbed for khalwat.

Rafizi was speaking during a mock Dewan Rakyat session to debate on amendments to Act 355 tabled by Marang MP and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang on April 6.

The mock Parliament was streamed live online via Facebook.

The two-and-half-hour session was held at the Invoke office in Sungai Besi near here to allow Pakatan Harapan MPs to debate on the issue.

The Dewan Rakyat speaker had abruptly postponed debate on Hadi’s bill after a motion to table it was taken in the Dewan on Thursday.

Rafizi said the RUU355 could also lead to corruption as judges could send people to jail for 30 years under the amendments.

Amanah’s Parit Buntar MP Mujahid Rawa said the RUU355 was open for discussion to both Muslims and non-Muslims in the Dewan Rakyat.

He was answering questions raised by Kelana Jaya MP Wong Chen and Kapar MP G Manivannan who had asked if Hadi was right in saying that the RUU355 should not be discussed by the non-Muslims.

Wong Chen had asked if non-Muslims were allowed to speak about Islamic issues during Prophet Muhammad’s time.

Amanah’s Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad said previously PAS was open to any discussions with non-Muslims to talk on Islam. “Now they say, Islam is for Muslims. It is more of Umno’s thinking. This is not the way it was.”

Hadi’s private member’s bill seeks to raise punitive powers of shariah courts to 30 years’ jail, 100 lashes of the whip and RM100,000 fine.

At present, shariah courts are allowed to impose a maximum penalty of RM5,000, six lashes of the whip and three years’ jail.