Speaker Pandikar Says Rulers' Approval Is Not Necessary For The Shariah Bill
Earlier today, 6 April, the Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia allowed PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang's private member's Bill (RUU355) to increase Shariah punishments
The Dewan Rakyat Speaker reportedly moved the Bill to the top of the order paper without consulting the Malay Rulers, who holds the right to be consulted before Islamic laws are made, according to Mohamed Tawfik Ismail, a former UMNO MP.
Tawfik Ismail has accused Speaker Pandikar of playing politics by ignoring the constitution, saying the decision to move the Bill was "arrogance of the highest order".
Yesterday, Tawfik Ismail had arrived at Parliament serve a writ of summons to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker, whom he named as one of two respondents in the civil suit to block the Bill to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act.
Tawfik, who is the son of former deputy prime minister Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, argued that the Bill should not surface in Parliament until the disposal of his lawsuit.
“This makes the entire thing sub judice from today. We don’t expect to see amendments in the Order Paper tomorrow,” he was quoted by The Malay Mail.
Pandikar, who has been accused of abusing his powers, defended his decision to allow the Bill despite an ongoing lawsuit, which aims to block the Bill, saying that the legal rule of sub judice cannot be cited to prevent Parliament from performing its legislative function
"If a court stops this, that means the courts become more powerful than Parliament," Pandikar told the Dewan Rakyat, citing parliamentary rules on sub judice.
On the allegations that the Speaker is committing treason by ignoring the Malay rulers' rights to be consulted before making any Islamic laws, Pandikar said the Bill does not need Rulers' approval
According to Pandikar, this was because the Bill was proposing to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 and not to introduce a new law.
"There is no need to get approval from the Conference of Rulers because this [Act] has already existed since the 1960s," Pandikar was quoted as saying by The Malay Mail.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Tawfik Ismail, who has filed the suit seeking to declare the Bill as unconstitutional and that it flouted Parliament procedures, issued a short statement on Pandikar's decision:
"Today is a sad day for Malaysians. Today, Parliament is dead and the nation is being driven down a dangerous path. The speaker plays politics disregarding the constitution and commits treason in ignoring the Conference of Rulers’ right to be consulted before the promulgation of any laws that will divide us as a nation."
"For the speaker to jump Hadi’s motion and place it No. 1 in the order paper is the arrogance of the highest order. He wants to show power. He wants to show he can abuse power and there is nothing anyone can do about it. That much is clear."
Previously, the Barisan Nasional Government, after promising to its UMNO members that they will table the Bill, decided against it