Govt considering own amendments to Syariah Courts Act

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 20 Oct 2016

Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government is considering amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 as it has not been amended for some time.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said the Government is looking into amendments to potentially widen the criminal jurisdiction of the Syariah courts.

"This is because the current Act has not been amended in a long time.

"Therefore, should the proposed amendments be passed by Parliament, the Government would like to propose that Syariah offenders are given sentences that include community service," said Jamil Khir in a Parliamentary written reply to Teresa Kok (DAP-Seputeh) Thursday.

Kok had asked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak if the Cabinet had discussed PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang's Private Member's Bill before it was tabled during the last Parliament meeting in May.

Kok had also asked if the Government would consider the strong reactions from Cabinet members and the public who oppose amendments to Act 355.

Abdul Hadi's Bill was slotted at number five in the Order Paper Thursday.

Meanwhile, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia said the Standing Order does not give him the powers to push a bill up the list in the Order Paper.

Pandikar said Standing Order 15 clearly states that Government matters had to be debated before other matters in the Dewan.

He added that the Order Paper lists the proposed Government bills and motions from lawmakers.

Motions submitted by MPs that meet the conditions are included in the Order Paper.

Citing the example on Monday where Abdul Hadi's Private Member's Bill was slotted fourth in the Order Paper, Pandikar said many thought the Bill would be debated.

The Bill, however, was never brought up as other Government matters took precedence.

"Other Government bills were brought in because they have the right and they only need to give a 24-hour notice.

"So if the Government does not want to debate other matters, then the Opposition and even backbenchers cannot debate it as the Government's matters are always prioritised," he said.

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