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Monday, December 19, 2016

Jamil Khir is wrong, must consult states

A consensus by states and the Malay Rulers was needed to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355) even if its through a private member's bill, said former law minister Zaid Ibrahim.

Hence, said Zaid, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Jamil Khir Baharom was wrong to suggest that the government can work around this by taking over PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang's private member's bill to amend the Act.

"Whether it is tabled by Abdul Hadi or Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, the requirements are the same.

"Islamic laws are under the purview of states and the Malay Rulers, so any amendments to Act 355 must have their consent," Zaid said in a video blog today.

Yesterday, Jamil Khir was asked during the Umno Overseas Club Alumni assembly why didn't the government table amendments to Act 355 themselves, to which he replied that this would have compelled the government to seek consent from all states.

However, a private member's bill can be tabled by any lawmaker, said Jamil Khir.

Zaid said Jamil Khir was not only factually wrong, but also exhibited Umno's penchant for finding ways to circumvent the laws for their own ends.

Abdul Hadi had previously sought to lift the penalties cap prescribed under Act 355. This would allow states such as Kelantan and Terengganu to put into force their respective enactments which prescribes hudud law.

Eventually, the PAS president amended his motion, proposing a higher cap instead, of 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 lashes.

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