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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Uproar over Hadi's Hudud Bill: Much ado over nothing?

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Last Thursday saw opposition members of Parliament up in arms after Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said brought out the proposal to bring forward PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s motion.
Further confusion arose after Hadi stood up and read the Private Member's Bill to amend Act 355 as though it was the first reading for the Bill.
But PKR parliamentarian N Surendran explained that the Bill did not come out, rather, the contention was on the motion for leave for a Private Member's Bill to be brought forward.
“All the media reported that the Bill came out - the Bill never came out. It was a motion, not a Bill,” said Surendran to Malaysiakini.
Citing Standing Order 49, Surendran said a Private Member's Bill can only be brought if an MP obtains the leave of the House.
Hadi, he said, had filed a motion for leave of the House to bring the Private Member's Bill. (left)
Another confusion on the matter may be due to the procedural differences between a government Bill and a Private Member's Bill where the former does not need to ask for leave before it goes for the first reading.
In the incident on Thursday, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia had asked Hadi to explain the Bill and Hadi had then asked that the motion be postponed.
Therefore, Hadi’s motion to get leave of the House to bring the Private Member's Bill has not been decided as the motion has yet to be approved.
“This means in the next parliamentary session, what needs to be decided first is the motion to bring the Private Member's Bill.
“There will be no Private Member's Bill until the motion is determined. So Hadi would have to present the same motion again in the next session.
“There can be no first or second reading because the motion for leave hasn’t been passed yet,” said Surendran.
Incident was 'strange'
The Padang Serai MP, however, admitted that the incident was ‘strange’.
“If a motion is being brought forward one would think it is so that it can be debated in Parliament, whether the motion to bring in the Private Member's Bill would be allowed or not,” he said.
Hadi’s Bill seeks to amend the syariah court's jurisdiction. The Bill is dubbed the ‘Hudud Bill’ because Act 355 needs to be amended to allow syariah courts to mete out hudud sentences.
If the Hudud Bill is passed, it can pave the way for its implementation in Kelantan.
The Kelantan state assembly had passed the Bill to implement hudud last year with all 44 representatives voting in favour.
Last Thursday was the last day of the parliamentary session. The next sitting will be held from Oct 17 to Nov 24.- Mkini

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