Is UMNO such a hegemon in BN that it could disregard MCA, Gerakan, MIC and Sabah/Sarawak BN component parties as to unilaterally support and take over Hadi’s private member’s bill in Parliament next month?
Constitutional expert Prof Datuk Dr. Shad Saleem Faruqi yesterday told a forum in Kuala Lumpur that PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill is about enhancing punishments for crimes that are clearly outside the legal jurisdiction of the states and therefore unconstitutional.
Furthermore, Hadi’s private member’s bill could create inequality between Muslim and non-Muslim criminals, which would violate the equality provision of Article 8 of the Constitution.
Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Asri Zainul Abidin expressed disappointment that the issue could not be properly debated as Muslims would be accused of being anti-Islam when they try to discuss the matter.
He said: “It is as if those who criticise Act 355 is not Muslim and are against Islam,” he added.
Asri made a most valid point, which was why the civil group G25 issued a statement last week upholding the right of Malaysians to comment on the scope of Islamic law in the country as part of the democratic process. This is because those who oppose Hadi’s private member’s bill are being accused of being anti-Islam.
What is not generally known is that the former PAS Mursidul Am and former Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat was very critical of Act 355 in his speech in Parliament in October 1984.
But there is also the political point.
Is UMNO such a hegemon in the Barisan Nasional that it could disregard MCA, Gerakan, MIC and Sabah/Sarawak BN component parties as to unilaterally support and take over Hadi’s private member’s bill in Parliament next month?
This is a question which must not only be answered by the UMNO President, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, but also by the leaders of all the other Barisan Nasional component parties.