The Amanah communication director predicts GE14 will be held soon and a new govt installed after that, making PAS’ shariah bill redundant

KUALA LUMPUR: To certain politicians, the PAS-initiated Shariah Bill, or RUU355, is very much alive. But to Amanah’s Khalid Samad, the controversial bill is as good as dead.

“I do not see any chances of RUU355 being debated in the next parliament sitting as the election is near and after the election, we are going to have a new government,” the Amanah communication director boldly predicted.

Khalid, a former PAS member, said this when asked on the fate of the Private Member’s Bill to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965.

Speaking to Berita Daily today, Khalid said the reason it was not debated in the just-ended parliament sitting was that PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang was unwell.

“It is a Private Member’s Bill, so the person who brought it should be present in order for it to be debated.

“Unfortunately, Haji Hadi is unwell. Therefore the bill can’t be debated. I am not sure if the bill would have been debated if Hadi were present. I can’t speculate,” he said.

RUU355 appeared in the Dewan Rakyat’s Order Paper on Monday but it was not brought up for debate at the meeting, which ended yesterday.

The bill seeks to grant shariah courts the power to impose stiffer penalties on all crimes except those with the death sentence.

It proposes to amend Section 2 of RUU355 to increase the punishment cap from three years’ jail, RM5,000 fine and six lashes of the cane to 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 lashes of the cane.

Meanwhile, Amanah deputy president Salahuddin Ayub said that the fiasco over the bill was purely a political game.

He said many Amanah members who were with PAS previously had tried to warn PAS members about the trick that has been used by the ruling party to use the bill as a bait to destroy the Islamic party.

“It is a never ending political game. It was made to cause trouble and dissent. The government is not serious to implement it. Look how long it takes for the bill to be tabled,” he added.

He said that more than a year had passed since PAS made its first attempt to table the bill but nothing much had come out of it.

“We were accused of being disloyal and even branded as an enemy of Islam but in reality the bill was only a trick. PAS did not realise the trap that was set up by its real enemy,” he told Berita Daily.

In November last year, Abdul Hadi read out an amended version of the bill to empower the shariah courts to impose stiffer penalties but debate on it was deferred under Standing Order 15(5).

Standing Order 15 states that on every sitting day, government business shall have precedence over a private member’s business.