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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Umno minister warns 'chaos' if Cabinet meetings made public

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An Umno minister has taken a swipe at his fellow Cabinet colleague from MCA and warned that revealing matters discussed during its meetings could lead to potential chaos for the government.

Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaacob told reporters that he would not comment on matters discussed during the May 20 meeting and it was also not right for other ministers to do so.

"I don't understand these ministers who are commenting on matters discussed by Cabinet. You have taken an oath of secrecy, so keep the secrets.

"Why do you want to mention things discussed by Cabinet? If everyone wants to talk about what was discussed, it could lead to chaos for us (the government) outside," he said.

Ismail said this when asked for comment on Minister for International Trade and Industry II Ong Ka Chuan's revelation this morning that Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had informally raised the hudud issue in the May 20 cabinet meeting before it was tabled.
"Sometimes we discuss sensitive matters in the Cabinet. So the most important thing is for us to see the reason why the Bill was tabled, what would be its impact," said Ismail who is an Umno Supreme Council member.
'Hypothetical question'
Ong said Zahid had posed a hypothetical question to ministers on what they thought if "someone" were to introduce a Bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, also known as Act 355.
He added that many ministers had objected to the hypothetical question and was caught by surprise when the Bill was officially tabled on May 26 - the last day of the second session of the Dewan Rakyat.
Commenting further, Ismail insisted  that many of those who had objected to Hadi's Bill, did not understand what they were saying.
"We have said it is not hudud. This means it is not hudud. This is not a new law. It is just to expand existing jurisdiction (of the Syariah Court).
"If he (Ong) objects, he can challenge it in court and ask to repeal the existing punishments," said Ismail.
Ismail also stressed that the amendments will only affect Muslims and specifically to increase penalties for offences that is not provided for under the Penal Code, for instance pre-marital sex and drinking alcohol.
"I hope that these people who don't really understand, they have to understand first before threatening the government, threatening the prime minister.
"Don't do it. When they talk like this, it makes them look like they are not very intelligent," he said.

At the same time, he also warned that critics may risk insulting the royalties with their objections as the final say on matters related to Islam still lies with the states and the sultans.
Hadi's Private Member’s Bill or officially named the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Bill 2016 was also referred to as the "Hudud Bill" as it would ultimately pave the way for the partial implementation of the Islamic penal code in PAS-ruled Kelantan.
Kelantan had already passed amendments to its state enactment to that effect.
MCA president Liow Tiong Lai, MCA deputy president Wee Ka Siong, Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong and MIC president Dr S Subramaniam were among top BN component party leaders who had threatened to resign from the Cabinet should the contentious amendments be passed in Parliament.- Mkini

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