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A step forward for RUU355

  • What worries us is that PAS could gradually build up its momentum through such a process to help it secure a bigger support so that it will be harder to block the bill next time. Photo courtesy: Bernama

Sin Chew Daily

The BN Supreme Council meeting decided last week that the government would not take over the tabling of the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Bill 2016 (RUU355 amendment bill). The news came as a relief to many a non-Muslim in the country.

However, merely a few days later the government suddenly gave PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang the green light to table the private member's bill on RUU355 amendment although Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia announced later that the motion would only be debated in the next parliamentary session.

PAS leaders keep stressing that the country's non-Muslim community should not oppose to the amendment bill as it does not involve non-Muslims. That said, once RUU355 amendment bill is adopted by the Parliament, it will open the flood gate for the eventual implementation of the hudud law in Malaysia, posing a severe threat to our existing secular system.

In the long run, RUU355 will have serious impact on the entire country's future directions, and should therefore not be discussed from the narrow perspective that it only expands the jurisdiction of syariah courts.

We have to make it very clear here that not only the country's non-Muslim community is against Hadi Awang's private bill. The G25 organization also believes that members of Parliament should have the right to reject the bill because Hadi Awang's RUU355 amendment bill has threatened national unity and will tarnish the country's image as a progressive nation.

Tawfik Ismail, son of the late former deputy prime minister Tun Dr Ismail, recently filed a suit against RUU355 amendment bill for being unconstitutional and flouting parliamentary procedures. It is not difficult to see that even some in the Malay society do not approve Hadi's private bill.

Obviously the BN government (Umno) has its political considerations for once again allowing PAS to table the motion. Allowing PAS to table the bill is meant to reassure the party, and to defer the debate and voting is to tame the dissident voices from within the ruling coalition. But once Pandora's box is opened, there will be more factors of uncertainty in the country's future development.

Although Hadi's motion has yet to move into the debate and voting stage in the current parliamentary session, it has nevertheless made a big leap forward. What worries us is that PAS could gradually build up its momentum through such a process to help it secure a bigger support so that it will be harder to block the bill next time.

How the BN is going to handle Hadi Awang's motion in the next parliamentary session scheduled from July 24 to August 10 will be crucial to the further developments of this matter. It needs to be emphasized that RUU355 entails the country's future as well as the interests of all Malaysians. It is therefore imperative for lawmakers to defend the spirit of Constitution for the sake of all.

 

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