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I'll think about hudud bill after by-election, says Mastura

K KANGSAR POLLS Just like her Sungai Besar compatriot Budiman Mohd Zohdi's tai chi over the matter, the BN candidate for the Kuala Kangsar parliamentary seat deflected questions about the hudud bill.

Instead, Mastura Mohd Yazid stressed that she prefered to give her undivided attention at present to the interests of the rakyat in the constituency, and would only think about the controversial draft law after the by-election.

"At the moment, I am weighing in on matters that involve the people of Kuala Kangsar and the development of the area, so give me a chance to think and pursue my agenda for the people here and let me think about that (hudud bill) after the polls ended," she said at a press conference at her Bukit Chandan home today.

Budiman in Sungai Besar was earlier reported to have tried and wiggle his way out of answering reporters about the sensitive issue.

The Sungi Panjang asemblyperson at first tried to deflect questions on the matter, telling reporters that it should be directed to PAS.

But when pressed, he curtly said, "Let me win first".

The answer seems similar to Mastura's, as both look to sidestep the minefield that may trigger repercussions among non-Muslim voters in both areas.

The goverment tabled the motion to ask for leave from the House to table PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang's Private Member's Bill seeking to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdictions) Act 1965 or Act 355 two weeks ago.

But Hadi had requested that debating and voting for the motion be deferred to the next parliamentary sitting.

This means that the candidates who win in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar come polling day on Jun 18 will get to take part in the debate and vote on the motion.

Hadi's hudud bill will be considered tabled for first reading if the motion to ask for leave from the House succeeds in going through.

The amendments are essential for Kelantan to enforce its now-defunct hudud enactment, as it would remove restrictions on the Syariah Courts from meting out more diverse punishments than the allowed three years' jail, RM5,000 fine and six lashes of the whip.

MCA, which is campaigning for both Budiman and Mastura, had already said it was unreservedly against hudud, which is probably why both are circumspect.

The twin by-elections in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar were triggered by the death of both incumbents in a helicopter crash during the run-up to the May 7 Sarawak state election. The Election Commission has set June 18 as the polling date in both by-elections.

Kuala Kangsar will see a four-cornered fight among BN, PAS, Amanah and an Independent. Sungai Besar will witness a three-cornered tussle among BN, PAS and Amanah.

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