MPs sidetracked while debating Bill


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 07 Jul 2005

UMNO and PAS MPs tried to score political points during the debate on the Syariah Court Evidence (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill. 

Instead of focusing on points relating to the Bill, which aim at standardising the use of terminology in Hukum Syarak (Islamic laws), the parliamentarians got sidetracked most of the time, highlighting instead their rival’s misdeeds. To their credit, however, it was a peaceful exchange, with none of the slanging matches that the Dewan is accustomed to, especially when these two old nemesis cross swords. 

Ahmad Shabery Cheek (BN – Kemaman) spoke for almost two hours, pointing out that PAS was not what it claimed to be. 

Citing an example at his own constituency, he said PAS did not build a single mosque there throughout its five-year rule. 

“On the other hand, we planned to have five more mosques within a year,” he said. 

He also accused PAS members of unruly behaviour during a demonstration in Terengganu a fortnight ago, breaking flower pots and shouting rudely. 

Ahmad Shabery was frequently interrupted by PAS MPs who posed questions about Umno’s own behaviour. 

Tumpat MP Datuk Kamaruddin Jaafar, for instance, questioned why Umno leaders had rebuffed the PAS attempt to hold an open discussion with them. 

“If there is such a dialogue, then the people can judge for themselves who’s right or wrong,” he said. 

Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh (BN – Kalabakan) expressed his uneasiness over the Health Ministry’s free condom distribution and needle exchange programme.  

“Who is going to give the free syringes and condoms? Who will stand to profit from this exercise?” he asked. 

He was interrupted by Hasni Mohammad (BN – Pontian), who said the ministry was carrying out a pilot project. 

Abdul Ghapur replied that the ministry should consult the National Fatwa Council before implementing the programme. 

“Let the National Fatwa Council decide on the matter and come out with a fatwa (decree) on it.” 

Dr Mohd Hayati Othman (PAS – Pendang) concurred with Abdul Ghapur, saying that the council should determine whether the move was halal before the ministry implements the project. 

Dr Rozaidah Talib (BN – Ampang) also questioned the need for the programme, saying that the HIV/AIDS situation in Malaysia was under control. 

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