PAS: We’ll pursue Act 355 amendment after GE14

Mahfodz-Mohamad-ruu355GOMBAK: PAS says it wants to wait until after the next general election (GE14) before pushing for the passing of the bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355).

The Islamist party’s ulama council president Mahfodz Mohamad said the party had to take various factors into account as the polls are due to be held within the next 10 months.

“We want to succeed when the bill is finally tabled. So, based on our calculations, with some Umno MPs and even other Muslim lawmakers not supporting it, we believe it would be better to put the matter on hold for the time being.

“It would be pursued only after the general election and when we have won more seats,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an event at Kolej Universiti Islam Zulkifli Mohammad here today.

The private members bill by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, seeks to enhance the punishments permissible under shariah law,

On April 6 this year, Hadi had tabled the bill in the Dewan Rakyat but speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia deferred the debate over the bill until Parliament reconvened on July 24.

However, the debate in July did not materialise as Hadi was undergoing treatment at the National Heart Institute. The next meeting of Parliament will convene on Oct 23.

The bill seeks to increase the sentencing limits 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, respectively.

Mahfodz also said PAS was seeking to contest in 100 parliamentary constituencies to gain as many seats as possible in its effort to ensure the bill would pass.

He said the party was in the process of upgrading its electoral machinery to capture several more states in Peninsular Malaysia.

“We are confident of winning more seats than Amanah. Our target is to maintain our seats in Kelantan and Selangor, regain Terengganu and Kedah, while adding some other seats,” he said.

PAS has ruled Kelantan since 1990, and has been one of the components in the Selangor government, together with PKR and DAP, since 2008.

The party also ruled Terengganu from 1999 to 2004, and headed the now defunct Pakatan Rakyat coalition in ruling Kedah from 2008 to 2013.

Mahfodz also said that PAS had not had any discussion with Umno on seat-sharing arrangements in the eastern states of Peninsular Malaysia.