Pakatan unmoved by PAS' hudud talk

File photo of Pakatan Rakyat and PAS supporters

PETALING JAYA - A special briefing by PAS on the controversial Kelantan Hudud Bill failed to impress Pakatan Rakyat leaders, some of whom are believed to have rejected it.

Despite this, the proposed amendment to the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code II is likely to proceed when the Kelantan legislative assembly sits for three days, starting Monday.

The amendments are to pave the way for PAS to implement hudud in the state that it has ruled for 23 years.

Kelantan Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah said he did not see any valid reason to postpone the tabling of the Bill.

He shot down claims by some Pakatan leaders that the proposed Bill looked like a completely new one.

"That is not true because the original content is there with just some changes. We will convey their views to the Mentri Besar," he said.

PAS sent two state executive councillors - Datuk Dr Mohd Fadzli Hassan and Datuk Nassaruddin Daud - to brief the Pakatan pre­sidential council yesterday on the proposed Bill.

Prior to that, DAP and PKR lea­ders had been left in the dark about what the proposed amendments were about.

They also knew bits and pieces of the move from media statements by PAS leaders.

PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, who attended the meeting, said the two PAS officials had been asked to convey their feedback to the Kelantan government and the PAS central committee, which is meeting in Kota Baru after Friday prayers today.

"The positive thing is that the engagement process is still on. Previously, there was a complete breakdown in communication about what was happening with the Bill," said Azmin, who is also Selangor Mentri Besar.

Sources said some of those at the meeting rejected the Bill on grounds that it was a "brand new draft" rather than an amendment to the 1993 Bill.

"We want them to go back to the drawing board but it will be complicated with only a few more working days to go," said the source.

Among them was DAP legal bureau chief Gobind Singh Deo, who urged PAS to reconsider the proposed amendments.

"This was essentially a whole new Bill altogether, not just minor changes," he said.

Gobind said DAP was against the proposed amendments and reminded PAS that implementation of hudud was against Pakatan's common policy.

The proposed amendments, among others, seek more rotan lashes for six main criminal offences, including apostasy, illicit sex, alcohol consumption, making unproven accusations of illicit sex, theft and robbery and qisas, which covers murder and causing hurt.

The proposed Bill is expected to see smooth passage because all the Umno assemblymen have committed to supporting it.

However, the prospect of hudud in Kelantan has the potential of further damaging the already fragile ties between PAS and its DAP and PKR partners.