Malaysiakini News

What anti-Act 355 mastermind?

Stephen Ng  |  Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | One would have expected PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang to be more astute than this, but for a senior politician like him to blame it on a mastermind whom he claimed had blocked the tabling of Act 355 amendments by the government, is laughable.

Without naming the mastermind, it is tantamount to him merely giving an excuse and defending his earlier stance to be seen with Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

What he has failed to understand (which many of us have already pre-empted) is the politics behind Umno’s decision to take up his private member’s bill and later to abandon it. In one stroke, it was intended to split the opposition front while strengthening the impression that Barisan Nasional rules by consensus, which we know is more of a fairytale.

It was also intended to show the Muslim voters which parties are anti-hudud laws. Fortunately enough, the lack of consensus in BN showed that there are strong objections within BN itself.

No mastermind

The whole U-turn was already expected. In fact, earlier, I was already warning Hadi and PAS that the government did not appear to be sincere about its decision to table the bill after it was postponed several times.

No one listened, and of course, Hadi was delighted that his private member’s bill was made government business; now, we cannot help but laugh at a weakened PAS. Already abandoned by more savvy politicians like Mohamad Sabu and others like Khalid Samad and Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, now it is further ridiculed after being dumped and Act 355 is back to square one.

Imagine the Parliament was already gearing itself to table the amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, but Najib chose to stay away from Parliament to visit India. Only Hadi and his team of people believed that the Umno president was serious about Act 355.

Most of us who read between the lines could tell what was happening, but not Hadi or any of the PAS leaders. I had kept my fingers crossed, and asked myself, “Could this be part of Hadi and Najib’s bigger plot? Or, maybe Hadi was already well aware of the U-turn, but he is playing along with the game because he is part of the script. If that were the case, it is all part of a bigger plot, isn’t it?”

That is why I say there was no mastermind behind it all. There were sceptics and there were people objecting to the amendments, but no one was masterminding the entire plot.

What I saw was that Hadi and PAS had been taken for a ride over what is otherwise known as Hadi’s private member’s bill. He was too foolhardy to accept Najib’s hand when Umno and PAS, as we all know, are politically a world apart...

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