By Richard T.W.
KUCHING: Sarawak PKR has vowed to oppose the bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, no matter what the national leaders of the party decide.
“Sarawak PKR is always consistent in the matter, notwithstanding the decision of the PKR leadership.
“Should the national leadership go against our stand, we will not budge,” state PKR leader Baru Bian told reporters today.
Last May, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang moved a private member’s bill to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 or Act 355.
Last Friday, PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said she recognised Hadi’s right as an MP to submit the bill and despite her reservations, she would hear Hadi’s explanation during the tabling of the bill next month.
But Baru today stressed that Sarawak PKR would remain opposed to any effort to amend shariah law, regardless of assurances that hudud elements were removed.
National PKR Wanita vice-chief Voon Shiak Ni and Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How were also present.
Baru called on Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg to “make a clear and unequivocal” stand on hudud.
“Now that Adenan Satem is no longer with us, it would be reassuring for Sarawakians if his successor, Abang Johari Abang Openg, could make a public affirmation of Adenan’s stand on hudud.
“The chief minister has said on several occasions that the Cabinet is still essentially Team Adenan but with a new captain.
“It would therefore be comforting if he could state that the government’s stand has not changed in that the Sarawak government is still opposed to hudud law.
“That would be in keeping with Adenan’s legacy of speaking up for the rights of Sarawak and Sarawakians.
“To defend Sarawak’s rights in this fundamental issue is also to ultimately ensure the integrity of Malaysia as a secular state.”
Hadi’s bill seeks to raise the maximum penalties for shariah offences to 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 strokes from the current three years’ jail, RM5,000 fine and six strokes.
Prior to his death last month, Adenan had instructed the 25 Barisan Nasional MPs in the state to oppose the bill.