KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 10 — PAS lawmakers were the only ones who objected to the government's proposed changes to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976, the Islamist party's vice-president claimed today.
Idris Ahmad, who is also Bukit Gantang MP, stressed that PAS had, through two of its lawmakers, clearly voiced their objections to the amendment Bill in Parliament despite it being a government initiative.
"Although RUU 164 was brought by the government, 13 PAS MPs objected. We stood up for the Speaker to allow bloc voting, so that each person would be counted. But what could be done? The House's rules state that there must be 15 persons in order to have bloc voting," he said in a statement today.
Idris took the opportunity to assert that PAS' decision to give or withhold its support was not based on whether it was a government initiative, insisting that it instead hinged on whether it would be good for Muslims.
"Only 13 PAS MPs objected, even if it was brought by the government. PAS's attitude is clear, when it is good for Muslims and Islam, we support even if brought by the government. If it is otherwise, PAS will fight even if it is brought by the government. This is PAS' attitude," he said.
"There is no issue of PAS having UG (unity government) with Umno when supporting RUU355," he said, referring to PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang's private member's Bill for proposed changes to the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 that had received support from Umno.
It is unclear if only federal lawmakers from PAS had objected to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Bill 2017 as no bloc voting was carried out and as lawmakers from other parties such as DAP and MCA had also raised objections.
The Bill — which omitted a clause to bar the unilateral conversion of children to Islam unlike an earlier version — was passed at 12.45am today.
PAS' perceived growing ties with ruling party Umno have been viewed with suspicion, but it has maintained that it is an Opposition party that is willing to work with anyone for the good of Islam.