PAS to amend Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code next month

(File photo) Supporters of Malaysia's opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) holding up banners and placards declaring their wish for a fair and transparent electoral process - regardless of race - during the "Suara Rakyat, Suara Keramat" rally at Kelana Jaya Stadium in Petaling Jaya on 8 May 2013.

PETALING JAYA: PAS will push ahead with its plans to amend the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code II next month.

The move comes in spite of a Pakatan Rakyat decision on Sunday for the matter to be deferred pending the outcome of a special meeting to be held soon.

"The Kelantan State Legislative will sit this coming March 16 and PAS here will go ahead with its plans for amendment of the syariah criminal code," state Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Amar Nik Abdullah told The Star yesterday.

He added that the exact date for tabling the proposed amendments would be known after the Speaker had fixed the state legislative assembly's agenda.

Asked if the state PAS would defer its plans pending the outcome of Pakatan's special meeting, Nik Amar reasoned that there was no need as it did not involve implementation of hudud at the moment.

"The amendments to the state syariah are left for Kelantan PAS to decide.

"Discussions by Pakatan leadership on the hudud implementation are a separate matter," he said.

Nik Amar, who heads the state technical committee on hudud, also said Kelantan PAS would try to table a Private Members' Bill in Parliament next month depending on the outcome of the special meeting which is due to be held within a month.

"We will try to table the Bill in Parliament this coming session if there is time.

"If not, we will do so at the following session in the middle of the year," he added.

On Sunday, Pakatan's leadership council decided to defer the discussion on hudud after all three parties agreed to hold the special meeting to resolve the spat before bringing it to Pakatan's convention on May 10.

Nik Amar, who was present at Pakatan's closed-door meeting, told the council that Kelantan PAS was still drafting the proposed amendments.

The move appeared to take some Pakatan officials by surprise.

"It was clear from the council's decision that Kelantan PAS should not go ahead with the amendments until they submit a draft of the proposed amendments at the special meeting for a decision," DAP national organising chairman Anthony Loke said when contacted.

DAP central working committee member Gobind Singh Deo said any move by PAS Kelantan to carry out the amendments would make Pakatan's decision "nonsensical".

"We (DAP) personally made it clear that PAS must stick to the common policy framework, which does not include hudud.

"Anything outside the framework cannot and must not be done unless there is consensus among all the parties in Pakatan," he said.

Apart from agreeing to not tabling a Private Members' Bill in Parliament next month, Gobind added that PAS Kelantan should also refrain from making amendments to the state syariah enactment pending the outcome of the special meeting.

PKR vice-president Tian Chua took a different view, saying that proposed amendments to the syariah enactment were within PAS' prerogatives.

"Strictly speaking, the amendments are a state affair," he said.

"If amendments are made, the Pakatan leadership would then study the amendments first before developing a position on it," he said.

Kelantan PAS is seeking more rotan lashes under hudud for six main criminal offences, including apostasy, illicit sexual relations, alcohol consumption, making unproven accusations of illicit sex, theft and robbery and qisas which covers murder and causing hurt.

Under its present hudud laws, passed in 1993, those found guilty of illicit sex can be jailed up to three years or caned six times, or both.

Amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355) are needed by a majority in Parliament to allow PAS to implement hudud law in Kelantan.