KUCHING: Sarawak PKR leader Baru Bian said the party remained unconvinced by assurances that a private member’s bill pushed by PAS president Hadi Awang would not be expanded to hudud.
He added that the party would oppose any amendment to Act 355 that would lead to Islamic punishment for criminal offences
Baru was commenting on Hadi’s bill, which sought to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, better known as Act 355.
The bill has yet to be debated. Today in Parliament, Hadi said the first reading for the amendments to Act 355 would be brought forward to the next sitting in 2017.
Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi told the media here today that he had briefed Chief Minister Adenan Satem that a parliamentary select committee would be formed to provide feedback on proposed amendments to Hadi’s bill.
Baru said Sarawak agreed to form Malaysia as a secular state.
“Many of our (state) leaders also share the belief that encouraging this (dual criminal punishment systems) was never intended by our forefathers when we formed Malaysia,” Baru told reporters at the Sarawak assembly today.
“We cannot betray that agreement that we had when we formed Malaysia in 1963.
“So this is something that is totally out of the thinking we had. That is our stand. I think this kind of bill should not be supported.”
Today, Zahid, who is on a working trip to Kuching, had given assurances that the proposed amendments to Hadi’s bill would not contain any elements of hudud.
A parliamentary select committee will look further into the amendments.
Baru said the party leaders were sceptical.
“That is his assurance. But at the moment, the way it is drafted, the way he is talking about it, we are not convinced.
“Unless of course they are referring to the committee, (which may be) a different form. We have not seen any of it yet.
“In its present form, it is still having a lot of hudud elements. As far as I am concerned, we oppose it unless they modify it.”
Baru called on Sarawak MPs to oppose any amendment that would lead to hudud.
“I do hope the MPs from Sarawak and the chief minister would stand firm, no matter how they modify it. We speak not only for the Muslims in Malaysia but everyone as we believe there should be equality for everyone.” -FMT