PETALING JAYA: Come what may, PAS is pushing ahead with its Private Member’s Bill to empower the Syariah Court.
PAS leaders said they would not bow to any political pressure to retract the proposed Act 355 Amendment Bill tabled by party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, stressing their action was in line with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s call in March to empower the Syariah Court.
PAS information chief Nasrudin Hassan said it was high time they pushed for the proposed amendment, as currently the jurisdiction of power of the Syariah Court was even lower than the magistrate’s court.
“Act 355 Amendment is related to jurisdiction of the Syariah Court. The Private Member’s Bill tabled by the Marang MP has nothing to do with hudud,” he said.
He said this in response to criticism levelled against PAS for pushing the Private Member’s Bill on the last day of parliamentary meeting on Thursday.
Nasrudin said elected representatives would have ample time to deliberate and debate the Bill, as Hadi chose to adjourn the debate to the next parliament meeting in October.
“We are not in a rush. In line with democratic practices, we are ready to face parties with differing views.
“However, we hope to get support from all the MPs to amend Act 355 enacted in 1965.
“This is in line with Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s call to strengthen the syariah court institution,” he said.
PAS Ulama information chief Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali at-Takiri hit back at DAP and Parti Amanah Negara for demanding that the Islamist party retract the Bill on grounds of sensitivity.
“The amendments would only affect Muslims. Therefore, claims of religious sensitivity is unwarranted,” he said.
“The attitude of some DAP MPs reflect their reservation against attempts to strengthen Islamic jurisprudence for the benefit of Muslims in the country where Islam is the religion of the Federation,” he said.
Khairuddin said the Private Member’s Bill was aimed at replacing Section 2 of the Syariah Courts Act (Criminal Jurisdiction) 1965 [Act 355] to empower the Syariah Court to take action against Muslims who committed offences listed under Schedule Nine of the Federal Constitution.
“Proposed Section 2A empowers Syariah Court to impose heavier sentences except death penalty,” he said.
Currently, the Syariah Court can only impose sentence not exceeding three years, and fine not exceeding RM5,000.
Federal Territory PAS Youth chief Khairil Nizam Khirudin cautioned Amanah against questioning attempts to strengthen the religious institution in the country.
“They should put the interest of Islam before politics,” he said.
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