‘REJECTION OF TABLING DONE IN CONSENSUS’
Move shows BN’s spirit of working together, says Umno information chief
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