‘RE­JEC­TION OF TABLING DONE IN CON­SEN­SUS’

Move shows BN’s spirit of work­ing to­gether, says Umno in­for­ma­tion chief

New Straits Times - - News -

KUALA LUMPUR

THE gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion not to table a bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Crim­i­nal Ju­ris­dic­tion) Act 1965, or bet­ter known as Act 355, is tes­ta­ment to the way Barisan Na­sional makes de­ci­sions in the spirit of con­sen­sus.

Umno in­for­ma­tion chief Tan Sri An­nuar Musa said the de­ci­sion was proof that BN was con­sis­tent in its tra­di­tion of work­ing to­gether.

“This is one of the strengths of BN, where the sol­i­dar­ity of the party is al­ways a pri­or­ity in an at­mos­phere of mu­tual re­spect among all com­po­nent par­ties.

“De­ci­sions are made based on con­sen­sus,” he said.

The BN Supreme Coun­cil meet­ing on Wed­nes­day night had de­cided that the gov­ern­ment would not take over tabling the bill, and that it would re­main as a pri­vate mem­ber’s bill.

BN chair­man and Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak had, on Wed­nes­day, said: “The BN Supreme Coun­cil dis­cussed a num­ber of is­sues, in­clud­ing mat­ters per­tain­ing to Act 355, and it has been de­cided that the gov­ern­ment will not table a bill to amend Act 355, in line with our pol­icy and prac­tice of de­lib­er­at­ing based on con­sen­sus.

“As such, it will re­main a pri­vate mem­ber’s bill and it is up to the Par­lia­ment speaker (Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mu­lia) to de­cide, ac­cord­ing to the Or­der Paper.”

The bill was first moved by Pas president Datuk Seri Ab­dul Hadi Awang dur­ing the last ses­sion of the Dewan Rakyat last year.

The pro­posal seeks to amend Act 355 to em­power syariah courts to im­pose harsher pun­ish­ments, ex­cept for the death penalty, for Is­lamic of­fences listed un­der the states’ ju­ris­dic­tion in the Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tion.

An­nuar said the de­ci­sion also showed that the BN gov­ern­ment up­held the rights and free­dom of every mem­ber of par­lia­ment.

“Now, the ball is in Pas’s court. This is a test for Pas.”

An­nuar said it re­mained to be seen whether there was any “sol­i­dar­ity among them”, in ref­er­ence to the op­po­si­tion par­ties.

He said Umno and BN had yet to make an of­fi­cial stand on amend­ing the bill.

“This is be­cause there are still lots of things and pro­ce­dures that need to be done to amend an act... we shall cross that bridge when we come to it,” he said.

In the mean­time, said An­nuar, Hadi and Pas had every right to try to ex­plain the rea­son­ing be­hind the tabling of the pri­vate mem­ber’s bill to the peo­ple, their al­lies and other par­ties.

He said it was im­per­a­tive that ev­ery­one un­der­stood the bill and the amend­ments pro­posed be­fore any de­ci­sion was made.

Umno in­for­ma­tion chief Tan Sri An­nuar Musa says it is im­per­a­tive that ev­ery­one un­der­stands the bill and the amend­ments pro­posed

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