May 30, 2016
Hudud Bill: PKR and Azmin Ali snookered by PAS
by Mariam Mokhtar
Not so strange bedfellows–Hadi and Najib
One wonders whether PKR was caught by surprise by PAS’ tabling of the hudud bill on Wednesday. After all, the two parties seem to be maintaining some sort of relationship despite slight quarrels now and then.
From the reaction of its representatives in Parliament, it looks like DAP was caught unawares, as were MCA and Gerakan.
The big question is: did PAS inform its allies in PKR that it intended to force the bill through? If it didn’t, no one would be surprised. PAS has already shown that it is treacherous to the core. It wouldn’t have mattered to PAS that both the PKR President and Deputy President had been speaking about having greater cooperation with it.
The hudud bill calls for the amendment of the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act of 1965, or Act 355. If passed, it will enable any Malay state to introduce hudud, although the ostensible immediate purpose is to allow PAS to implement it in Kelantan.
Under Act 355, punishment by the Syariah Court is limited to a maximum fine of RM5,000, three years’ jail or six lashes of the whip. The amendment is aimed at increasing the lashes to between 40 and 100 and also at introducing stoning for fornication.
PAS Youth chief Nik Abduh Abdul Aziz has claimed that the hudud issue will be used as campaign fodder in the upcoming by-elections in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar. Both these places are Malay majority areas.
According to Nik Abduh, the tabling of the bill by PAS President Hadi Awang was a signal that PAS and UMNO can, and do, cooperate for mutual benefit.
Having succeeded in taking the bill to the head of the queue, Hadi applied for it to be debated during the the next parliament session. The postponement, he said, would allow MPs time to prepare for a meaningful debate.
This is suspicious. Why fast track the bill and then postpone the debate? Is this is a tactic to show Malay voters in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar that UMNO and PAS are working together to “unite” the Malays?
Or is there another motive?
PAS and UMNO have made secret deals before. Perhaps the deal this time is to let UMNO win the by-elections. Perhaps both parties know that many Malays aren’t in favour of hudud and would reject PAS. PKR doesn’t have a leg to stand on for both by-elections. This means that the voters, who are mostly Malays, will opt for UMNO.
So, does PKR still want to jump into bed with PAS?