KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 — An older version of PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s Bill pushing for Shariah courts to impose harsher penalties barring death has appeared in the Order Paper for the upcoming Dewan Rakyat meeting this month.
Two MPs confirmed with Malay Mail Online that a screenshot of that version of the Bill that has been making rounds on social media is genuine, and was published in a list in an Order Paper for March.
“We’re trying to check with the Parliament secretary whether it was a mistake,” Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad told Malay Mail Online.
The Parti Amanah Negara lawmaker said the Order Paper was submitted to MPs yesterday.
“I have seen it,” said DAP’s Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong, who also received the list yesterday.
A screenshot of a sheet of the Order Paper dated March 7 showed the version of Hadi’s Bill that was proposed since June 17, 2015. It seeks to allow Shariah courts to mete out any punishment allowed under Shariah law, except for the death penalty.
On November 24, Hadi read out a motion to amend his Bill by inserting the punishment caps of 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 fine, and 100 lashes as administered in line with Shariah criminal procedure.
However, the wording might simply be due to a printing mistake. An aide of Hadi told Malay Mail Online that the Marang MP’s office is checking with Parliament officials on the reappearance of that version of the Bill.
“It is informed that our side is getting response from Dewan Rakyat officials on how that Order Paper details were listed in Dewan Rakyat papers,” said the aide.
Malay Mail Online is currently seeking clarification from Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia and minister in charge of the Parliament, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.
The first meeting of the year for the Dewan Rakyat, the lower House of Parliament, will run from March 7 to April 7.
The proposal to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 — dubbed Hadi’s Bill — seeks to raise the Islamic courts’ maximum sentencing powers that are currently limited to three years’ jail, RM5,000 fine and six lashes.
Despite denial by PAS, critics have argued that the Bill is a backdoor attempt to allow harsh hudud punishments for Shariah offences to be enforced.
* Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article erronously reported on the date Hadi’s older Bill was proposed and has since been corrected.