BN component parties cannot be compelled to toe Umno's line on planned amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355), at least in theory, Gerakan Youth deputy chief Andy Yong says.
However, Yong conceded that Umno supreme council member Ahmad Maslan was right that BN components cannot object to the amendments, since the government intends to take over the amendment bill.
"Theoretically, he (Ahmad) is wrong as BN component MPs can't be compelled (to support a government bill)... But in reality he is right," Yong told Malaysiakini.
He explained that by convention BN parties will toe the line when it comes to government bills, but stressed that the parties have to agree to it beforehand.
In light of this, Yong said, BN component parties must be allowed to look at the proposed Act 355 amendments and voice their objections before it is tabled.
"Gerakan will never support any bill that is unconstitutional... that is why Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong proposed to form a parliamentary select committee (on the matter)," he said.
The government is slated to take over PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang's Private Member’s Bill to amend Act 355 once his motion on the matter reaches the second reading during the Dewan Rakyat session next March.
This was after Hadi read out a revised version of the motion in the House last month.
He had previously sought to abolish the penalties cap prescribed under Act 355, from the present three years' jail, six strokes of the whip and RM5,000 fine.
This would allow states such as Kelantan and Terengganu to put into force their respective enactments on hudud.
Eventually, Hadi amended his motion to propose a higher cap of 30 years' jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 strokes of the whip.
Although Hadi had toned down his demands, several BN component parties said they would still oppose the bill on grounds of it being unconstitutional.- Mkini