Guan Eng: PAS, BN parties and public duped by Umno

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KUALA LUMPUR: It is not just PAS that has been duped by Umno over the tabling of Hadi’s bill but also Umno’s partners in the Barisan Nasional (BN) and members of the public, says DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

Referring to an opinion piece in the April 10 issue of The Edge, Lim pointed out that the writer said Umno leaders were laughing at PAS for being duped over their president Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill, also known as the RUU355 bill.

Lim said Umno’s BN partners had been duped into believing that Umno would not support the RUU355 bill.

He said Umno’s support for RUU355 was “crystal clear when Umno took the unilateral decision” to defer six important government bills to allow one full day of Parliament for the RUU355 bill to be tabled.

“The so-called BN consensus of the BN government not adopting RUU355 is clearly a farce and an exercise in mass deception of the public, where not only PAS ‘kena game’ (duped) but Malaysians ‘kena game’.

The proposed amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act or RUU355 seeks to grant the shariah court powers to impose stiffer penalties for all crimes except those with the death sentence.

Lim said in a statement, “What is astonishing is that the non-Umno component parties continue to support Umno and remain in BN despite being duped and shown up in public as being made ‘bloody fools’ by Umno.

“Clearly the perks and privileges of government office are more important than principles.”

The MP for Bagan claimed the non-Umno BN component parties were trying to cover up their failure by pinning the blame on the DAP.

He said the DAP had immediately broken ties with Hadi when he was intent on tabling the RUU355 bill.

He said, “The DAP had explained many times that we are opposing RUU355 not because we are anti-Islam or that we want to interfere in Islamic affairs, but because it changes the character and identity of the Federal Constitution.

“RUU 355 is clearly unconstitutional because it strikes at the very heart of Merdeka, the core of the Federal Constitution and the basis of which Malaysia was formed with Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia.”

Lim said it was also “technically and procedurally” wrong to change the constitutional framework of the Federal Constitution by an ordinary bill which required only a simple majority of MPs present during voting, instead of a constitutional amendment which required a two-third majority of MPs.

“If RUU355 can be passed by an ordinary legislation and not by a constitutional amendment, what is to stop hudud laws from being implemented in the same manner in future?

“Non-Muslims and quite a few Muslims too, are not anti-Islam or interfering in Islamic matters in opposing RUU355, but ensuring that the safeguards provided in the Federal Constitution continue to be upheld and protected,” Lim said.

The proposed amendments to the RUU355 were originally tabled by Hadi last May.

Following opposition to the move, Hadi presented a tweaked version of the motion in November and sought to defer it for debate at the just-concluded parliamentary session.

Later, Prime Minister Najib Razak and his deputy Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the government would take over the motion, and table it as a government bill in the March sitting. BN component parties, except for Umno, objected to this.

Then, Najib said the government would not, after all, table the bill, and that it would have to be tabled as a private member’s bill, as before. Hadi then tabled the bill last Thursday, after the bill was moved up in priority for debate.

However, as soon as the bill was tabled and seconded, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia deferred the debate to the next meeting in July, to much protest from the floor.