PM says RUU355 to be presented for states to discuss in October, suggesting Bill will be tabled this year

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Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is seen during a Parliament sitting in Kuala Lumpur September 14, 2021. — Bernama pic
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is seen during a Parliament sitting in Kuala Lumpur September 14, 2021. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 — The Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Bill is scheduled to be presented to the states for deliberation in October once it is finalised, the federal government has said in further affirmation that it would be tabled in Parliament this year.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob gave the latest update in a parliamentary reply yesterday to Dungun MP Wan Hassan Mohd Ramli who wanted to know about the latest update on the government Bill’s negotiations between states.

The Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act is known by its number 355, and the Bill to amend it is commonly referred to by the Malay initials for Rang Undang-undang, as RUU355.

“When RUU355 is finalised then, the government Bill will be presented to the states in the Islamic and Civil Law Coordinating Conference scheduled to be held from October 12 to October 14.

“This conference is one of the few forms of negotiations and discussions to be held with the states,” Ismail Sabri said in the written reply posted on the Parliament website.

In a similar parliamentary written reply just last week, Ismail Sabri said the federal government was currently in the midst of drafting the Bill but had not spelled out when it was to be presented to the state for discussion in response to Shah Alam MP Khalid Abdul Samad.

The controversy over the proposal to strengthen the Shariah courts first erupted when it was linked to hudud, and seen as a way to impose harsh punishments against Muslims perceived to run afoul of Islamic laws, including those in the LGBT community.

RUU355 was tabled by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang for the first reading in the Dewan Rakyat on May 26, 2016 as a private member’s Bill.

The Bill as proposed by Hadi sought to raise the Shariah courts’ maximum sentencing limits to 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 strokes of the cane. The current limits are three years’ jail, RM5,000 fine and six strokes.

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