KUALA LUMPUR – March 13, 2017: PAS is in no hurry and would not feel disturbed if the bill to empower the syariah courts, commonly known as RUU355, is not tabled during the current parliamentary sitting.
In describing the timing as a non-issue, the party’s information chief Nasruddin Hassan Tantawi holds firm to the position that a delay will not affect the morale of party members.
“The most important thing is to allow the bill to go through the required processes so that no one can refute it once the bill gets through parliament,” he said.
Talk that the bill, an intiative of PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, will not be tabled during the current parliament began to be heard after it was listed at number 7 on the Order Paper list.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said had also said last week that parliament was likely to pass only two bills during the current sitting. These are the amendments to the Bankruptcy Act and the Child Sexual Crime.
Despite RUU355’s placement on the list, Nasruddin contended that the bill was placed at the top of other private members bill.
“Empowering Islam in the country has always been a PAS struggle. Whether or not RUU355 gets passed is not as important as our efforts in trying to empower the syariah courts.
“Of course our supporters will be happy if it (the bill) was to be passed prior to our muktamar (general assembly) but if it doesn’t, then we don’t mind taking the scenic road,” he said.
The motion to table the bill was read by Hadi in May last year after the government allowed it to take precedence over other government motions. He however deferred debating the bill and tabled a revised version in November.
RUU355 seeks to empower the syariah courts by increasing the severity of punishments for offences listed under the jurisdiction of the country’s syariah laws.