KUALA LUMPUR: No to hudud! This was the strong message from some Barisan Nasional component parties in reaction to PAS' Private Members Bill to enhance syariah punishments. The bill was tabled by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang in the Dewan Rakyat last Thursday. Indeed, the presidents of three parties within the Barisan Nasional – MCA, MIC and Gerakan – have made it clear they are prepared to give up their ministerial positions should the bill be passed. The three are MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai (who is transport minister), MIC president Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam (who is health minister) and Gerakan president Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong (minister in the Prime Minister's Department). Liow had announced he was prepared to quit his Cabinet post last Friday followed by Mah on Saturday and Subramaniam today. Others who have since made similar announcements were deputy MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (minister, PM's Department), MCA secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan (deputy minister, International Trade and Industry II), MCA vice-president Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun ( deputy minister, Women, Family and Community Development ) and MIC CWC member Datuk P. Kamalanathan (deputy education minister). Meanwhile, Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) president Tan Sri Joseph Kurup cautioned Putrajaya that Sabahans and Sarawakians may demand to secede from Malaysia if the proposed amendments to Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 are passed in Parliament. Kurup, who is also minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of national unity, said the bill risks dividing East and West Malaysia. "It will trigger more feelings among the people of Sabah and Sarawak to go their separate ways," he was quoted as saying today. However, Kurup did not say if he would resign from the government if the proposal is passed. Meanwhile, both Liow and Subramaniam said they will meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak soon to discuss the matter. Liow, who chaired a meeting of the party's CWC, Youth and Wanita leaders today, said the party is seriously concerned despite the assurance by Najib that the Bill is not meant to implement Islamic criminal laws but only to enhance certain existing punishments for local syariah courts. After chairing an MIC emergency general meeting at One City Mall here today. Subramaniam also said the party will have a meeting with Najib. "MIC collectively opposes hudud. However, we accept the Prime Minister's view that the bill that was tabled is an amendment to syariah law, and not the implementation of hudud. But we would need clarification from the prime minister. In our view, this opens the way for hudud to be carried out especially in certain states like Kelantan," he added. PBS president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who described the hudud penalties as "archaic", said his party too opposes the Bill, adding that it should not have been tabled in Parliament.