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PRS tells Umno tabling Act 355 amendment will harm BN

The Sarawak BN component pointedly asks if Umno prefers its non-Muslim partners or PAS' bill.

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KUCHING: Umno’s insistence on tabling the PAS-initiated amendments to the Shariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 in parliament will harm the BN coalition, BN component party PRS has cautioned.

Its president, Dr James Jemut Masing, said PRS would reject the bill even if the government tabled something similar to Act 355, or exactly the same, as that proposed by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang.

Masing was quoted by The Borneo Post as saying: “PRS as a non-Muslim party would like to ask Umno: Who would you prefer, your non-Muslim political parties in the BN or the hudud law?

“We have to safeguard the country’s supreme law which is the Federal Constitution. It has worked all this while, why the need to amend it? Why should you change a machine that has been running smoothly for the last 53 years?” .

PRS has six members of parliament.

“We are partners in the coalition so I do hope that Umno will not bulldoze its way which is not healthy for the BN,” Masing, who is also Sarawak deputy chief minister, told The Borneo Post.

According to Masing, Hadi’s motion would open the floodgates to the implementation of hudud in all the states and this would split the people.

His stand is similar to the one taken by the MCA. MCA president Liow Tiong Lai said recently that his party would vote against the bill.

He had warned that Umno would become the cause of the breaking-up of the BN spirit if it disregarded the dissenting voices of the component parties.

“The party which pushes for the unconstitutional bill and even votes for it will be the culprit. It is Umno that would go against the BN spirit, not MCA. Would BN continue to exist without its spirit intact?” Liow had asked.

Another Sarawak BN component, SUPP, has also stated it will not support the bill even if Umno were to table it. Its president Dr Sim Kui Hian had, last November, reminded Umno that the party considered Malaysia a secular state.

The BN government has said it will take over Hadi’s bill and make it a government bill after it is tabled in the next parliament sitting in March.

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