The government will not be tabling a bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355) and the one which has been tabled by PAS president will remain as a Private Member’s Bill, according to Prime Minister Najib Razak.
He said the decision came following the consensus reached over the matter at the Barisan Nasional (BN) Supreme Council Meeting last night.
“The BN Supreme Council has discussed a number of matters (at the meeting) including matters pertaining to the Act 355 and it has been decided that the government will not table a bill to amend the Act 355 in line with our policy and practice that BN deliberates based on consensus.
“As such, it will remain as a Private Member’s Bill and it is up to the Speaker (of Dewan Rakyat Pandikar Amin Mulia) to decide according to the Order Paper,” Najib who is also BN chairman, told a press conference after chairing the meeting last night.
On whether the decision was a reflection that BN would not support the bill, Najib, said the matter was also up to the Speaker.
“There may or may not have any voting, so it’s up to the Speaker to decide,” he said.
PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang had, in May last year, tabled a Private Member’s Bill to amend the Act 355 which aimed to increase the Syariah Court’s powers in criminal offences.
During the Parliament session in November last year, Abdul Hadi, who is also Marang MP, revised the bill to increase Syariah punishment caps to a maximum 30 years’ imprisonment, RM100,000 fine and 100 lashes of the cane.
Currently, the Syariah courts can impose a jail term up to three years, RM5,000 fine and whipping of not more than six strokes. – Bernama