Still no go for debate on Hadi’s shariah motion

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill seeks to increase the penalty for shariah offences.

KUALA LUMPUR: The much-anticipated debate in the Dewan Rakyat on PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill to enhance the powers of the Shariah Court will not take place after all.

A motion on the bill, known as RUU355, proposing amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act is on the order paper for today’s sitting, the final day of the current meeting, but no time slot has been provided for debate.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said appeared to have closed the window for debate after moving a motion to adjourn sine die the current meeting of the Dewan Rakyat at the end of the debate on a motion by the finance minister.

Hadi’s bill was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat in April last year but debate on it was deferred.

It proposes amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act to increase the jail term to a maximum 30 years or fine of up to RM100,000 or 100 lashes of the cane from the current penalties of three years’ imprisonment, a fine of RM5,000 and six strokes of the cane.

PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan (Kota Bharu), in seeking an explanation from Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia on the position of Hadi’s bill, said the continued deferment of RUU355 might be construed as Hadi, who is Marang MP, not performing his duty.

“Outside (the Dewan), there is a lot of talk that Marang (Hadi) did not allow the motion to be debated, although it is not within his power as it is at the speaker’s discretion.

“So, will the motion, which has been half-heard, be debated in the 14th Parliament (after the election)?” he asked.

Pandikar said he could not give an answer as he did not know his own position in the future, adding that even if a decision was made now, it would become irrelevant in the next session of the Dewan Rakyat.

“I am bound by Standing Order 15 (1) which prioritises government business and Standing Order 12(1) which gives the government the right to determine what follows after the completion of government business.

“The motion (on RUU355) that was tabled previously in the Dewan Rakyat was done at the wish of the government and I have no control over it.

“In this case, as far as I am concerned, RUU355 has been tabled, seconded and only remains to be debated. Marang has done his duty to the best of his ability according to the standing procedures,” said Pandikar.