PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang's proposed amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355) will raise the punishment ceiling to 30 years' jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 times of whipping instead of completely doing away with the punishment cap.
Hadi previously proposed in his private member's bill to amend Act 355 that the current syariah punishment cap of three years’ imprisonment, RM5,000 fine and six strokes of the rotan be abolished.
This change was confirmed by PAS' Kuala Nerus MP Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali today.
"Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Jamil Khir requested for Hadi to alter his motion so that there will be a limitation (on the punishments)," Khairuddin said.
He added that details on the various offences and corresponding punishments would be decided by the state governments.
'Would only apply to Muslims'
These would only apply to Muslims and involve offences such as pre-marital sex, adultery, drinking alcohol and qazaf (false accusation), he stressed.
Khairuddin also defended the proposed 100 times of whipping.
"Caning 100 times under civil and syariah law are different. Under syariah law, it's like caning a child only. It's just a light slap.
"A hundred strokes of the whip under syariah law is just like one stroke under civil law," he said.
Hadi will now have to give notice to the Parliament secretary to alter his private member's motion, taking into account the new punishment cap.
The changes came after a briefing organised by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for Muslim MPs on Hadi's motion yesterday.
Hadi's effort is often referred to as the ‘Hudud bill’ as it would ultimately pave the way for the partial implementation of the Islamic penal code, specifically in PAS-ruled Kelantan, which has already passed an enactment to that effect.
For example, the punishment of whipping under the enactment ranges from 40 to 100 strokes.
However, the Kelantan state enactment cannot be implemented as long as the current punishment limits on the syariah court stands.
Meanwhile, PAS will organise a nationwide solat hajat after maghrib (dusk) prayers today, for Hadi's bill.
A solat hajat is customarily to seek for God's providence for a specific matter.
According to a poster circulated in PAS' official media Whatsapp group, the prayers are "in conjunction with the tabling of the Act 355 Bill".