PETALING JAYA: PAS’ decision to postpone presenting the Private Member’s Bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act or RUU355 in the coming Parliament sitting is a strategic move, says MCA publicity spokesman Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker (pic).
He said PAS was obviously taking a wait-and-see approach based on the outcome of the general election.
“RUU355 is driven by PAS’ political will but it cannot force Umno to support it based on the concept of consensus and moderation within Barisan Nasional including sentiments in Sabah and Sarawak.
“It will be a strategic move by PAS to postpone its plan for the Bill to see if Umno is willing to go full force with them or not after the general election,” he said.
He said the party’s strategy regarding RUU355 was clear from the start.
“Even when it was working with DAP, PAS made it clear to its supporters that the cooperation was temporary, unlike DAP who was in denial while lying to its supporters about the matter.”
Ti noted that MCA would continue to protect the Constitution and the nation’s secular society against any move by PAS.
Group of 25 Eminent Malays (G25) spokesman Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin said the group remained opposed to RUU355, whether it was tabled in the coming sitting or later.
She added that there were several examples pointing to a rise in extremism in the country recently, and RUU355 would only exacerbate the situation.
“We don’t want RUU355 to pave the way for the setting up of an Islamic state. We have to respect our secular Constitution and multicultural society,” she added.
Parti Amanah Negara communications director Khalid Samad said PAS was merely following the script prepared by Umno.
“I believe this is an issue that Barisan does not want to handle before the general election, as they want to avoid the Bill being debated,” the former PAS lawmaker said.
On Sunday, PAS Ulama chief Datuk Dr Mahfodz Mohamed said the party might wait until after the general election before debating the Bill due to Umno being “not supportive” of it.
The Bill was deferred at the Parliament sitting in July following objections from mainly non-Muslim lawmakers and civil society groups. It seeks to increase the punishment caps of the Syariah court by at least three-fold.
There were suggestions that the Government should take over the Bill, but Barisan chairman Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak decided against it, in line with the principle of consensus in the coalition.
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