Debate on RUU355 postponed again

  • Nation
  • Friday, 11 Aug 2017

THE debate on the Private Member's Bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, which was slotted for this Parliamentary meeting, has been postponed yet again.

The Bill, better known as RUU355, proposed by PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang was listed No. 10 on the Order Paper at the start of the meeting and was pushed to No. 6, after four Bills were deferred to the next sitting in October.

However, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said yesterday that the meeting will be adjourned after the Finance Ministry’s motion on the Customs Act is debated and passed.

Yesterday was the last sitting of the second meeting of the 13th Parliament.

In the previous meeting in April, Hadi, who is Marang MP, read out the Bill on the last day of the sitting.

It was supported by his fellow lawmaker Datuk Takiyudin Hassan, the Kota Baru MP, but deferred without being debated.

The Bill, which has received objections mainly from non-Muslim lawmakers and civil society groups, seeks to increase the punishment caps of the Syariah court by at least three-fold. On Wednesday, lawmakers spent the whole night and until early yesterday in the august house, debating the controversial Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Bill 2017 and Prevention of Crime Act (Amendment) 2017.

The Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Bill 2017 was passed at about 12.45am while the other Bill was passed after 4am.

This is the fifth time since 2013 that lawmakers had to stay until the wee hours to debate and pass Bills.

The Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Bill passed after a heated debate, by a voice vote.

Among the amendments was Clause 51 which allows either spouse in cases where one party has converted to Islam, to have their marriage dissolved in civil court.

The Government had withdrawn an earlier version of the Bill, to remove the proposed Clause 88A which addresses issues concerning the unilateral conversion of children in such cases.

Parliament passed the Prevention of Crime Act (Amendment) Act 2017 at 4.05am by voice vote after its third reading.

It was tabled by Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed and seconded by Deputy Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Halimah Mohd Sadique.

The Bill was aimed at expediting the decision-making process by the Crime Prevention Board, besides facilitating the management of the board's duties.

In the meeting on April 7, the Dewan Rakyat ended slightly after 5am – reportedly the longest ever sitting in the country, lasting almost 20 hours – to allow the debate of five government Bills, including the Tourism Tax Bill 2017.

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