KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 15 — Former Finance Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim urged the prime minister today to oppose a PAS Bill to enhance Shariah punishments, saying it would weaken the economy and the ringgit.
Mohd Sheriff said if Datuk Seri Najib Razak supported PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s Bill to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355), investors would interpret it as a gambit to avoid fixing Malaysia’s economy.
“RUU355 will split society and create worries over the future of this multi-racial country.
“When the people are not confident in Malaysia’s future, our economy will lose its strength and the people will suffer just because our leadership likes to play political games with religion,” Mohd Sheriff said in a statement.
He pointed out that the weak ringgit has worsened inflation and increased the cost of living, noting that most of those who suffered as a result were Malays.
“With this, I, as former Finance Ministry secretary-general and Economic Planning Unit director-general, would like to advise YAB to forget about RUU355 because there are other more important issues for YAB to resolve,” said Mohd Sheriff.
Najib announced at the Umno general assembly last year that the government would take over Hadi’s Bill.
PAS is organising a rally in support of the Bill this Saturday in Kuala Lumpur, while a movement called BEBAS is holding a counter rally in Petaling Jaya.
Hadi’s Bill aims to raise the ceiling on Shariah punishments from three years’ imprisonment, six strokes of the cane and an RM5,000 fine to 30 years’ imprisonment, 100 strokes, and an RM100,000 fine.