It is generally thought that the winner for the unprecedented hudud motion in Parliament yesterday was the PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang when in fact the greater winner was the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who never appeared in Parliament House for the past two weeks.
When the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Azalina Othman Said stood up in Parliament after lunch to move a Minister’s motion to give priority to Hadi’s private member bill motion on hudud, she was not doing Hadi’s bidding but carrying out Najib’s directive.
Although PAS leaders are gloating at their political “coup” to get Hadi’s hudud motion presented to the House, it came to nought, for Hadi backed off from a debate and a vote, and the result is that Parliament had not given leave to Hadi to present a private member’s bill to amend Act 355 to amend the syariah court’s jurisdiction.
This means that Hadi’s private member’s bill motion lapses unless two things happen in the October meeting of Parliament: firstly, Hadi resubmits his private member’s bill motion; and secondly, Parliament again vote to give priority to Hadi’s private member’s bill as against official government business.
Let us see whether the Barisan Nasional MPs will in October again vote in support of a Minister’s motion to allow Hadi’s private member’s bill motion to get leave from Parliament to amend Act 355 to be debated and voted upon.
Why is Najib the greater winner in the unprecedented hudud motion in Parliament yesterday?
In one stroke, Najib thinks he has achieved two things: (1) to sideline the 1MDB scandal which had been haunting and hounding him again since beginning of a global crackdown against the Malaysian sovereign fund 1MDB for money-laundering on 24th April 2016 – the closure of the BSI in Singapore and reference its top six officers to the prosecutor for possible criminal offences; and the closure of the 143-year BSI mother bank in Switzerland and commencement of criminal proceedings; (2) make hudud the single biggest issue in the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections next month completely overshadowing Najib’s premiership and the 1MDB global financial scandal.
Hadi thought he has got the better of Najib, when in fact it was Najib who had got the better of Hadi.
This was why Hadi did not proceed to have a debate and a vote on his private member’s bill motion yesterday, although Barisan Nasional and PAS MPs had united to vote for Hadi’s private member’s bill to have priority over official government business?
Why didn’t Hadi proceed to have a debate and a vote on his private member’s bill motion although it was only around 3.30 pm and Dewan Rakyat did not adjourn yesterday until late last night?
The answer is quite simple – it was the deal Hadi had reached with Najib, demonstrating the untrustworthiness of both.
Najib did not want the 1MDB global scandal to become the issue in both by-elections, and this tallied with PAS agenda to downplay the 1MDB issue and make hudud the main issue in the two by-elections.
This will also enable some PAS leaders to trot out their falsehoods that DAP is anti-Malay, anti-Islam and anti-Malay Rulers – lies repeated recently by former UMNO Information Minister, Zainuddin Maidin (Zam).
Both the voters in the two by-elections in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar and Malaysians as a whole must not fall into the Najib-Hadi trap to create the impression that hudud is the issue, as Najib and the 1MDB scandal must remain in the forefront as the premier issues in the country.
(Speech to weekly meeting of Penang DAP MPs/SAs in Komtar on Friday, 27th May 2016 at 3 pm)