GOMBAK, July 24 — Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom will oversee Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s Private Member’s Bill that seeks to strengthen the Shariah courts’ punitive power, PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan confirmed today.
Takiyuddin confirmed that Jamil will be the minister in charge “until the end of the process” come the Parliament’s next sitting in October.
“The initial motion proposed is by individual member of parliament, Marang MP Hadi. Later on, the procedure is one minister in charge of that … person will proceed to continue in the proceeding.
“The minister in charge of that matter is the one in charge of religion and it’s Jamil Khir,” he told reporters here, referring to the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.
“He will take over at later stage and proceed until the end of the process,” he added.
Takiyuddin confirmed that Jamil Khir has given his word on the matter, indicating that Putrajaya is ready to handle the controversial Bill.
“I was made to understand that there was a briefing among the Cabinet members including the non-Muslim ministers and nothing happened.
“Everybody respected each other,” he said when asked if the decision means Umno has forsaken their non-Muslim counterparts who have publicly opposed the Bill.
In May, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said tabled a motion to expedite the tabling of the Bill. However, Hadi surprisingly requested it to be deferred for debate until the next parliamentary meeting in October.
Azalina has since confirmed that the motion to expedite Hadi’s Bill came on orders from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his deputy Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
The Bill seeks to empower Shariah courts to enforce punishments ― except for the death penalty ― provided in Shariah laws for Islamic offences listed under state jurisdiction in the Federal Constitution, without elaborating on the nature of the punishments.
Shariah court punishments are currently limited to jail terms not exceeding three years, or whipping of not more than six strokes, or fines of not more than RM5,000.