Two key leaders of BN component parties today said claims that component parties are compelled to support amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 were flawed.
MCA secretary-general Ong Ka Chuan said all legislative matters in Parliament must be done in the BN spirit and within the coalition’s mechanisms.
This will entail discussions with all parties being on equal footing to reach a consensus before a final decision can be made.
“Claims that BN component parties must support government bills is a case of putting the cart before the horse,” said Ong, who is also the Tanjong Malim MP.
Ong was referring to Umno supreme council member Ahmad Maslan’s claim that BN componenent parties are compelled to support the amendments once Putrajaya had taken over a private member’s bill brought by Marang MP Abdul Hadi Awang, which outlined the amendments.
‘Ahmad forgot about BN constitution’
Putrajaya plans to takeover the bill once it is tabled for second reading in March, a move which minister in charge of Islamic affairs Jamil Khir Baharom said helped circumvent the need to seek consensus from all 14 states.
According to Gerakan vice-president Dominic Lau, Ahmad appear to be unaware of how BN operates and its own internal rules.
Lau pointed out that Article 13 of the BN constitutional explicitly stipulated that the BN supreme council must reach a consensus in all decisions.
“As long as BN remains the federal government, all government policies and positions must follow principle of consensus to reflect the will, commitments and cooperation of all component parties,” said Lau in a statement that was written in Chinese today.
He added that any lawmaker has a right to vote against any bill in the Dewan Rakyat.
Must go through cabinet
Similarly, Gerakan secretary-general Liang Teck Meng said the matter has yet to be discussed in cabinet nor has the relevant parliamentary select committee been established.
Since there has been no proper forum for BN component parties to provide their input on the matter, therefore the issue of compulsion does not arise.
“BN operates through consensus. This matter has not been discussed, there was no paper on this,” Liang, who is Gelang Patah MP, told Malaysiakini.
He stressed that the matter must go through cabinet first in order for Muslim and non-Muslim leaders to provide their input to ensure necessary safeguards.
Meanwhile, MIC president Dr S Subramaniam and PPP president M Kayveas declined to weigh in on Ahmad’s claims.
“I will discuss the matter with the PM. We will sort it out,” said Subramaniam when contacted.
Kayveas said he will speak to Ahmad first to clarify what he said before issuing an official statement.- Mkini