KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 16 — Parti Amanah Negara’s (Amanah) bid to table its alternative Bill to enhance the Shariah courts failed to pass muster at the Dewan Rakyat today.
Kota Raja MP Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud told reporters at Parliament that Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia rejected her motion, filed on October 11, as it did not fulfil Section 23(1)(h) of the Standing Order, which bars asking questions to gain an opinion as a solution to an abstract or hypothetical legal case.
But Dr Siti disputed the Speaker’s grounds for rejection, insisting that she had not filed it as a question as alleged but as a private member’s Bill.
“The reason under 23 (1) (h) is not viable as it is on questions and not motions. I think the reasoning is not a real reason,” she said.
However, the Amanah women's wing chief said she will not be appealing the Speaker's decision, claiming it was pointless.
“There is no point in appealing .The Speaker's decision is final,” she said, adding that the Speaker’s notice of rejection was dated October 17, though she only received it last week.
Dr Siti also stressed that her alternative motion was not to go against the motion submitted by PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang — and which has made it to the House’s order paper, though it has to be debated — but to clear public misconception on improving the Shariah courts.
“This is not against PAS. This is to help the people understand the problems faced by the Shariah courts and why RUU 355 has become controversial,” she said, using the Malay abbreviation referring to the amendment to Act 355, also known as the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965.
She added that Amanah is not against improving the Shariah courts.
Amanah communications director Khalid Samah also weighed in, claiming the Speaker was politically influenced to reject Dr Siti’s Bill.
He further claimed the federal government only sped up PAS’ Bill as a “political ploy”.
“We feel that this was an issue out on the platter to break up Pakatan Rakyat. It was to pull PAS out of Pakatan Rakyat.
“Umno is desperate for PAS support and what will help Umno survive next election is Malay support,” the Shah Alam MP said.
Hadi’s motion for his private member’s Bill was listed as the fourth item in the Order Paper for the parliamentary meeting which started last month.
The Bill seeks to empower Islamic courts to enforce any punishment ― except for the death penalty ― provided in Shariah laws for Islamic offences listed under state jurisdiction in the Federal Constitution.
Shariah court punishments are currently limited to jail terms not exceeding three years, whipping of not more than six strokes, or fines of not more than RM5,000.
Hadi insisted in May that his private member’s Bill aims to expand the range of punishments the Shariah courts can impose, and was not meant to introduce hudud law in Kelantan.