Liow: MCA firmly against Hadi’s Bill
PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said MCA remained firm in opposing Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s proposed amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, amidst conflicting reports on the party’s stand.
In a statement yesterday, the MCA president said while it opposed the proposed changes brought by the PAS president in his private member’s bill, the party was not against any “Islamictype enactment”.
“I think it is proper and correct that I address what appears to be contrasting reports on MCA’s stand regarding the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 amendments or commonly referred to as Hadi’s Bill.
“MCA remains firmly opposed to any bill which it believes runs counter to the spirit and letter of our Federal Constitution. As Hadi’s Bill now stands, we regard it to be in such a position,” he said.
“Our opposition has nothing to do with the fact that it is deemed an ‘Islamic’ bill. We deny categorically that we oppose Islamic-type enactments. It has never been on our agenda.
“The Syariah Courts Act 355 has been in existence for 51 years and MCA has never once touched on this enactment in any form or manner,” he said.
On Thursday, Liow said Hadi’s Bill did not conform to the Constitution.
He had reportedly said MCA will not vote for Hadi’s proposed amendments.
“If the government moves a similar bill, they will do it based on the spirit of the Federal Constitution, and so I will vote for it.
“But as to the Private Member’s Bill, MCA has stated its stand clearly, which is to vote against it,” he had told the press at the Parliament lobby.
Hadi’s motion, which was first tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on May 26, seeks to empower syariah courts to mete out higher punishments.
However, due to strong opposition from both sides of the political divide, Hadi had requested to defer his motion. – by Karen Arukesamy