PAS MP Idris Ahmad dares Umno to have the political will to ensure the debate on the private member’s bill to amend Act 355 takes place

KUALA LUMPUR: PAS vice-president Idris Ahmad has questioned whether Umno was afraid to table and debate the private member’s bill that seeks to raise the punishment under the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965.

“What is Umno afraid of? They should have the political will to debate the matter. Let us see who is supportive and who is opposing the bill. PAS has done its job already,” said Idris, who is also Bukit Gantang MP.

He said this when asked to comment on the possibility of the private member’s bill to amend the act, also known as Act 355, which was tabled by Marang MP Hadi Awang, being debated in the next Dewan Rakyat session scheduled for October.

The October session is usually the period when the annual national budget is tabled.

Hadi, who is also PAS president, tabled the bill during the Dewan Rakyat session in April this year.  It was his third attempt at tabling the bill.

The bill seeks to raise the punishments that can be meted out by the shariah courts from three years’ imprisonment, RM5,000 fine and five strokes of the cane to 30 years’ imprisonment, RM100,000 fine and 100 strokes of the cane.

The motion was seconded by Kota Baru MP Takiyuddin Hassan, who is also PAS secretary-general, but the bill was not debated.

It was listed in the Order Paper of the Dewan Rakyat sitting that ended yesterday but again it was not debated.

Another PAS lawmaker is hopeful that the private member’s bill would be debated in the next session.

“We in PAS have high hopes that it would be debated and passed in the next session,” said Kuala Nerus MP Khairuddin Aman Razali.