“Don’t misunderstand, we are not against the Act itself.
“Some people have accused us of interfering with Islamic affairs, but the amendments will affect the foundation of the Federal Constitution,” Ong told reporters after attending the Alice Smith Chamber brunch at a hotel here yesterday.
He hoped that Malaysia would not become like Indonesia’s Aceh province, where a 60-year-old non-Muslim woman was whipped 30 times in public for selling alcohol in April last year.
He was responding to Barisan Nasional secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor’s comment that Umno would convince other Barisan component parties of the need to amend RUU 355.
Tengku Adnan told Sin Chew Daily on March 5 that many have misunderstood the proposed amendments, which he said aimed to strengthen the position of syariah courts and would only apply to Muslims.
The proposal to empower syariah courts to mete out harsher punishments and implement hudud in Kelantan has attracted opposition from Barisan component parties, including MCA, MIC, Gerakan, Parti Bersatu Sabah and Sarawak’s PBB.
In the same interview, Tengku Adnan, who is also Umno secretary-general, stressed that Barisan would only amend Act 355 if it secured a consensus among all component parties.
PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang first tabled the motion to amend the Act in May last year, seeking to grant syariah courts powers to impose stiffer penalties on all crimes except those with the death sentence.
Following fierce debates among lawmakers, Hadi presented a tweaked version of the motion in November last year and sought to defer it to be debated at the current Parliament meeting.
In the toned-down version, Hadi included the maximum punishment that syariah courts could mete out as 30 years in jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 lashes.
Currently, the maximum sentence syariah courts could mete out is three years’ jail, RM5,000 fine and six lashes.
Ong said MCA has submitted a paper to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak explaining the reasons the party is against Hadi’s Bill.
Meanwhile, MCA’s religious harmony bureau deputy chairman Datuk Ng Chok Sin warned that if passed, Hadi’s Bill could empower not just Kelantan, but Terengganu and other states to implement hudud punishments.
He blasted Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s support for Hadi’s Bill.
Ng also lambasted opposition parties for remaining mum over Muhyiddin’s support.
“Is their silence intended to keep PPBM in the loosely stringed opposition just for the sake of challenging Barisan in the 14th general election although their ideologies are completely divergent?” he asked.
Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/03/14/mca-is-firmly-against-hadis-controversial-bill-says-ong/#qVHgBuW87WKTmdZp.99