PETALING JAYA: PAS is expected to propose a toned-down version of its original proposed amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965.
PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang is expected to further adjust his proposed amendment to the Act, also known as RUU355, today.
Kuala Nerus PAS MP Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said he was confident that a motion, tabled for the second time by Abdul Hadi, would increase Syariah court penalties but also put a limit on the maximum punishments meted out by them.
“Everyone at the meeting agreed that there should be a need to empower the Syariah courts and they agreed that there should be a limit to the maximum punishments,” he said outside the Parliament building yesterday.
Dr Mohd Khairuddin revealed that the amendments PAS was proposing only covered offences such as pre-marital sex, intoxication and falsely accusing a person of zina (illicit sex).
He added that under the proposal, the jail term would be increased from the current three years to 30 years, from the present fine of RM5,000 to RM100,000 and from the current six lashes to 100 lashes.
He said the lashes under Syariah punishment differed from that of civil punishment.
“One hundred lashes under Syariah law are equivalent to one lash under the civil law.
“One Syariah lash is more of a tap, like how you tap your children,” he explained.
In May, Abdul Hadi tabled a motion to amend Act 355 to allow Syariah courts to impose stiffer penalties except the death sentence, without elaborating.
Although Khairuddin expressed confidence that Hadi’s Bill would be debated, it is likely that it will be deferred to the next Parliament session in March.
This is because Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the Bill to be re-tabled this week would include several tweaks to the Bill which he had read out for the first time in the previous sitting.
Following a briefing for Muslim lawmakers on Tuesday, Dr Ahmad Zahid said as the Barisan Nasional chief whip, he would raise a proposal for the Cabinet to set up a Parliamentary Select Committee to study the proposed amendments.
When approached by reporters in Parliament, Abdul Hadi refused comment on whether his Bill would see light today.
“Tomorrow, tomorrow,” was all he said before leaving the building.
Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan), who is Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club deputy chairman, said he agreed to the amendments to confer more powers to the Syariah courts to mete out punishments.
However, he did not agree with the proposed RM100,000 fine.
“Some of the villagers may not understand that they are committing a Syariah offence, so to impose such a large fine would be a burden to them. We need to be flexible,” he said.
Bung Mokhtar said it was up to the respective states to decide whether they wanted to implement the amendments should the Bill be passed.
“In Sabah and Sarawak, they can choose not to (implement it),” he added.