March 8, 2018
The Law starts with you, Tawfik Tun Ismail urges MPs to stop Hadi’s bill
The former MP again says while the Royal Address is being debated, the Dewan Rakyat is set to debate PAS’ shariah bill in defiance of the High Court judgement.
KUALA LUMPUR: Outspoken former MP Tawfik Tun Ismail who is seeking to stop the tabling of PAS’ shariah bill in Parliament has again warned that matters on religion come under the jurisdiction of the Malay Rulers, and as such it would be against the Rule of Law to list the bill in the Dewan Rakyat’s Order Paper.
“The Rule of Law starts at the House of Laws,” said Tawfik, the son of the late Tun Dr. Ismail Abdul Rahman who served as Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs in the Seventies.
Tawfik has named Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia and Secretary Roosme Hamzah as defendants in his bid to seek a court order to stop the tabling of a bill to amend the the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, known by its Malay acronym RUU355.
The amendments proposed by PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang seek to give wider powers to shariah courts as well as introducing stiffer sentences on Muslim offenders.
On February 22, Tawfik scored an initial victory against Pandikar after the High Court rejected the Speaker’s attempt to throw out his suit.
Tawfik has since warned against debating the bill in Parliament, and urged the Attorney-General to advise Pandikar that it would be subjudice to list the bill in the Order Paper, which lists the day’s business for the Dewan Rakyat.
Strange Bedfellows in a Pact to ruin Malaysia for Political Gain
“It is unparliamentary and most improper of, and against the rule of law, for the House to debate the motion of thanks to His Majesty… while Hadi’s bill to amend RUU355 stares you in the face in the daily Order Paper, in defiance of the judgement from the High Court, using laws that were passed in this August House, and in blatant contravention of the Constitution,” he said today.
Tawfik said listing Hadi’s bill in the Order Paper also contradicted the Speaker’s own decision in the past to stop debates on matters that had gone to court, including foreign courts.
He said Pandikar “should apply the same standards to this matter currently being heard before our own nation’s courts”.
“As the next general election is imminent, members from both sides of the House must stand united and obey the very laws you passed, demonstrate your sworn commitment to the nation that gave you the sacred duty to defend, uphold and protect their constitutional rights, and demand the private member’s bill be withdrawn from the Order Paper immediately,” said Tawfik, who also reminded MPs of the oath of office to “preserve, protect and defend” the constitution.
“Not to do so is clear contempt of His Majesty and His Majesty’s judges, in blatant defiance and contravention of the constitution, and the trust that the citizens of this nation have placed upon you all, and the thin end of the wedge that would open the door to further erosion of our fragile Constitution.”
Hadi’s bill seeks to raise the maximum punishment on shariah offenders from the current 3 years’ jail to 30 years, as well as to impose a fine of up to RM100,000 and 100 strokes of the cane.
But Tawfik, in his suit against Pandikar, said Hadi’s motion did not conform with the requirements of the Standing Orders of the Dewan Rakyat and that it violated Article 8 of the Federal Constitution, which guarantees equality for all Malaysians.