If Umno wants PAS’ friendship, then it must be willing to ensure the passage of PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, said senior PAS lawmaker Mahfuz Omar.
Mahfuz, who was formerly the PAS vice-president and second term Pokok Sena MP, said Umno must support such efforts even if it hurts ties with MCA.
“All Umno MPs must support (the bill) even if they are forced to separate with MCA,” Mahfuz told Malaysiakini at Parliament today.
Mahfuz was responding to a statement by Penang Umno, which expressed hope that PAS would remain friends on Islamic matters.
PAS Youth chief Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz, when met later, said that this was already the case and that politically, his party still regards Umno as the enemy.
“Even Umno considers us (political enemies) as well,” said Nik Mohamad Abduh, who is also the Pasir Mas MP.
Abdul Hadi’s private member’s bill sought to amend the law to increase the cap on penalties that can be mete by the Syariah Court.
The present cap is three years’ imprisonment, RM5,000 fine and six lashes. Abdul Hadi wants this increased to 30 years jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 lashes.
‘Mastermind’ mystery continues
Several Umno cabinet ministers, including Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, have claimed that Putrajaya would take over Abdul Hadi’s bill.
However, Najib buckled under pressure from BN component parties and said the fate of Abdul Hadi’s bill was left to the speaker’s discretion.
Meanwhile, on a report quoting Hadi as saying that he was aware of who was blocking the amendments, Mahfuz said he was sure the PAS president meant BN.
“Umno is being used by BN component parties, (such as) MCA, which led to this current situation,” said Mahfuz.
However, Nik Mohamad Abduh and PAS vice-president Idris Ahmad were more reserved when asked this question and suggested that the question be posed to Abdul Hadi instead.
In a related development, DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang urged Abdul Hadi to name the “mastermind” to prevent being seen as a “irresponsible” leader who makes baseless allegations.
Lim said that the public deserved to know, because Abdul Hadi was implying that the “mastermind” was more powerful than Najib.
“Who is this ‘mastermind’ that can make the prime minister make a U-turn and renege his announcement at the Umno general assembly last November that the government will take over Abdul Hadi’s private member’s bill?” asked Lim.