PKR to meet over PAS hudud bill to clear air

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KUALA LUMPUR: PKR will meet today to discuss PAS’ private bill on hudud that the Islamist party intends to move in Parliament to enable Kelantan to enforce the syariah penal code, its vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar said.

She said the meeting would take place at the Selangor Menteri Besar’s official residence at 3pm, following which the party would issue a statement on the matter.

On the call by Gerakan for DAP and PKR Muslim lawmakers not to support the private member’s bill, Nurul Izzah said the matter was not as simple as that.

“Gerakan should have instead brought this up at a Barisan Nasional meeting as Umno is also part of the technical committee on hudud implementation at the federal level. They can’t just wash their hands off the matter like that,” she said yesterday.

“It is a process of making it clear. At the end of the day, there is so much fear being created because you are equating a draft bill with god’s law. There’s so much fear being struck into the hearts of the non-Muslims.

“So we have to be more measured and engaged much further and I hope groups like ABIM (Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement), and religious groups like Ikram will come forward to address this issue.”

Gerakan secretary-general Liang Teck Meng had said the 18 Muslim MPs from PKR and DAP could determine the country’s destiny.

The PAS-led Kelantan government will convene a special sitting of the legislative assembly on Dec 29 to amend its Islamic laws, which will pave the way for the private member’s bill to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat at its next sitting.

Of the 37 parliamentary seats held by DAP, two of its federal representatives are Muslims, namely Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari and Raub’s Datuk Ariff Sabri; while 16 out of 29 PKR MPs are Muslims.

The private member’s bill, when tabled in the Dewan Rakyat, will need a simple majority of 112 MPs supporting it in order for it to be passed. The bill can be tabled once the Kelantan state assembly passes the amendment to its Shariah Criminal Code Enactment II.

The ruling BN’s Umno currently has 88 MPs, of whom all, with the exception of deputy speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee, are Muslims.

PAS holds 21 seats in Parliament and if it collaborates with Umno, they would be four seats short of the 112 needed to pass the bill.

DAP has repeatedly demanded that PAS shelves its plans in Kelantan, stressing that the controversial Islamic criminal code was not part of the opposition’s common policy framework.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim recently said that the PAS-led Kelantan government’s plans to table an amendment on hudud in its state assembly was problematic, as it had no powers to enforce the Islamic criminal law in the state . — The Malaysian Insider


This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on December 22, 2014.