KUALA LUMPUR: Amanah’s Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud has asked why PAS is talking to the public instead of MPs about PAS president Hadi Awang’s bill to amend the law and increase punishments for shariah offences.
Mariah, who is also Kota Raja MP, pointed out that it was the MPs, and not the people, who had to vote on the private member’s bill once it was presented in parliament.
“This is the reason some of us believe that the bill is more of a political stunt than an attempt at empowering the shariah courts,” she said at a press conference at Wisma Amanah Negara here today.
It was previously reported that PAS planned to hold a rally next year to demonstrate the massive support for the Islamist party’s bill to expand the powers of shariah courts.
Also present was Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, who took to task PAS’ proposed “stringent” punishments for shariah offenders, with maximum punishment of 30 years’ imprisonment, RM100,000 fine and 100 strokes of the cane.
“Do you mean to tell me that you are going to put a shariah offender in prison for as long as you would a hardened criminal? Fikirlah dulu (think first),” he said.
However, he conceded that having a limit on the punishments was at least a step forward.
“At least now people won’t question whether they can get their hands chopped off, but we need to have further discussions so we can make the bill even better.”
Responding to those who said the punishments were only the maximum, Mariah said the reason for concern stemmed from the fact that state assemblies were independent of each other.
“What you will have in the future are different states having different degrees of punishment for the same crime. This is going to cause fitnah (slander) against Islam which is why we have to ensure that the punishments are coordinated before passing it,” she said. -FMT