Opposition Islamist Leader/ PAS President Hadi Awang was successful in tabling a private member bill in the Malaysian Parliament on Thurday, 6th April 2017.
This was a day full of ironic moments. Political analysts will be busy deciphering for hidden insights.
1. This was the first time that the current Parliament Speaker Pandikar Amin (BN) allowed a private member bill. He is from the same party UMNO as is Malaysia PM Najib Razak.
2. The opposition-sponsored Islamic bill was tabled followed by speeches from PAS President Hadi Awang and PAS Secretary General Takiyuddin Hassan.
3. NO DEBATES BY MPS WERE ALLOWED. NO VOTING EITHER. After which, the Speaker adjourned the Parliamentary sitting until 24th July 2017.
4. This use (or abuse) of power was unprecedented by the Speaker. No prior notice was given to the opposition law-makers or Members of Parliament. The Speaker insisted that he was no bloody fool.
5. Incidentally, the ruling coalition (BN) lost the popular vote but won the last general elections (GE13). GE14 should be due in another 12 months.
6. BN’s previous election platform was “diversity” in a multi-religious populace – with “Moderate Islam” as a leadership anchor.
7. The Islamic Bill RUU355 proposes harsh punishments like 100 lashes of the cane and 30 years imprisonment. However, not all offences are clearly defined. Some critics say it is akin to being a blank cek/ cheque.
8. Concerned citizens should now be asking – is Malaysia still anchored on “Moderate Islam” or “Wasathiyah”? Can we expect our politicians to keep election promises in Malaysia?
9. Umno is seen as the dominant partner in the multi-religious ruling coalition. Is Umno abandoning its traditional allies to flirt with opposition Islamist PAS?
10. Malaysia is moving into uncharted and perilous waters. A dark storm is surely looming ahead.