Muslim MPs urged to back hudud bill

Muslim MPs urged to back hudud bill

KUALA LUMPUR - PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has asked all 136 Muslim MPs to support his Private Member's Bill on hudud by amending the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965.

The Bill, presented by Abdul Hadi on March 18, would require a simple majority to pass and if accepted, would bring the party closer to enforcing hudud for Muslims in Kelantan, a push that has alienated its Pakatan Rakyat partners DAP and PKR.

"We invite Muslim MPs to support this motion, regardless of their political party," he told reporters after chairing a three-hour PAS central committee meeting yesterday.

Urging non-Muslims "to give way" to Muslims on hudud, Abdul Hadi said it was the right of Muslims and because hudud would have "nothing to do" with them.

"They (non-Muslims) must give way in the spirit of the Federal Constitution, which states that Islam is the religion of the federation and that other religions are free to be practised," he said.

Abdul Hadi said it was not appropriate for the Constitution not to allow Muslims to have syariah law when other communities were free to practise their own religion.

Asked on PAS' strategy to get Muslim MPs who were not in the party to support his Bill, Hadi replied: "We cannot reveal this to you."

PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, who was also present, said DAP's move to sever ties with Abdul Hadi was however not discussed at the meeting.

"We continue to remain with Pakatan Rakyat," he said.

Elaborating on Mohamad's resp­onse, Abdul Hadi said: "We issued a joint statement last year that (hudud) is the right of the Kelantan state government. Other political parties have the right to either agree or not."

He said he hoped that the Bill would be heard in the current Parliament session, which ends on April 9.

PAS assistant secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said the Bill aimed to seek approval to amend Section 2 of the Syariah Courts Act, which details the maximum punishment that syariah courts in the country are allowed to mete out.

He said at present, syariah courts were only allowed to impose a maximum punishment of a three-year jail term, a RM5,000 (S$1850) fine and six strokes of the rotan.

In comparison, a magistrate's court can impose stiffer penalties, with a maximum five-year jail term, RM10,000 fine or 12 strokes of the rotan.

PAS leaders however declined to comment on a second Private Member's Bill - to amend Article 76A(1) of the Federal Constitution - that reportedly would also be required for hudud to be enforceable in Kelantan.

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