KUALA LUMPUR, March 7 — Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s Bill to strengthen the Shariah courts’ powers will need to be fast-tracked by a minister if it is to be debated in the current parliamentary meeting.
Although the PAS party president’s Bill is listed as item number seven on the Order Paper after four government Bills, Bukit Gantang MP Idris Ahmad said only the government can move the discussion forward.
“For the Marang Bill to be debated, a minister must carry it forward in Parliament’s Order Paper,” Idris told reporters outside the Dewan Rakyat today, referring to Hadi who is Marang MP.
“We are hopeful that this will be done. We would do it if we had the power, but we leave it to God’s will,” he added.
Known as “Hadi’s Bill” after its chief proponent, it has also been given the nickname of “RUU355”, as it is a Bill aimed at amending the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, or Act 355.
The federal law of Act 355 currently limits the Shariah courts’ sentencing powers to a maximum of three years’ jail, RM5,000 fine and six lashes.
Hadi’s Bill in its latest form now wants to increase the Shariah courts’ maximum sentencing limits to 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 strokes of the cane.
This was after Hadi’s Bill appeared in the Dewan Rakyat’s Order Paper in four parliamentary meetings without going through the first reading or being debated, either due to lack of time or Hadi’s own requests twice for deferment.