Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has proposed for the Barisan Nasional federal government to make PAS’ proposed amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355), a government bill.
“We will set up a parliamentary select committee. We’ll call all Muslims and non-Muslims in so that they will understand Islam because Islam itself has never oppressed other faiths,” he was quoted saying by Mingguan Malaysia today.
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang read on Thursday his motion for the amended version of his private member’s Bill to amend Act 355 in a bid to expand the punitive powers of the Syariah Courts, but he deferred it to the next time Parliament convenes next year.
The amended version of Hadi’s bill seeks to increase the syariah punishment ceiling to 30 years’ prison, RM100,000 fine and 100 lashes of the cane.
Syariah Courts are currently only allowed to mete out a three-year jail sentence, RM5,000 fine and six strokes of the cane.
Prior to Hadi’s reading, Zahid was the minister who announced that the bill would be tweaked following discussions with Hadi, while calling for a briefing session on the bill for Muslim MPs.
Bernama reported that Zahid also did not rule out a future Umno-PAS coorperation to resolve issues pertaining to religion and Malay interests, Bernama reported.
He said such alliance was not impossible even though both parties have yet to formally discuss the matter.
“Back then, when PAS was with the opposition pact, the Islamic party’s machinery was the one charging at the front lines.
“Now that they are no longer with the pact, the political scenario is different, although any political calibration is too premature to be broached upon.
“The importance of the ‘ummah’ should be prioritised,” said Zahid, the Umno vice-president.