Recap of Shariah Bill saga before Dewan Rakyat sitting tomorrow


Source: The Malay Mail Online 

KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 — PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s bid for harsher Shariah punishments is expected to make another appearance in this parliamentary meeting that will start tomorrow until August 10.

In case you might have forgotten the events from three months ago, here’s where we left off in April in Hadi’s long-running attempt to empower Shariah courts to dole out more severe punishments to Muslim offenders.

Hadi had proposed amending the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, or Act 355, to increase the Shariah courts’ maximum sentencing limits to 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 strokes of the cane.

Just a day before the second anniversary of his proposed legal changes’ appearance in Parliament, the Marang MP managed to table on April 6 his parliamentary motion which contained his proposed private member’s Bill.He managed to do so after his motion shot to the top of the list in the Order Paper, following a 19-hour overnight marathon sitting the previous day ending at 5am, where six government Bills were debated and passed, and with one government Bill withdrawn and another five government Bills’ debates deferred.

After Hadi tabled his motion and after his party colleague Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan made a speech for almost one-and-a-half hours in support of it, the Dewan Rakyat Speaker decided later that day to defer debates on it.

PAS leaders claimed to be taken aback by the decision to defer debates on Hadi’s Bill, while the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition’s leaders said they knew that this would happen.

Whether or not federal lawmakers will be debating Hadi’s motion to propose his private member’s Bill in this July-August meeting remains to be seen, as there are still five government Bills that had been deferred to this meeting.

The current Dewan Rakyat meeting will run for just 12 days, from July 24 to August 10. The last meeting of the year for the lower house of Parliament will run for 25 days from October 23 to November 30, of which the bulk is generally dedicated to debates on the government Budget for the following year.

For a quick reminder on what Hadi’s Bill is all about and why debates about it are so important, click here.

To trace the history of how PAS’s push for the enforcement of hudud laws evolved into a bid to ostensibly only empower Shariah courts to mete harsher punishments, click here.