A PAS lawmaker today raised concerns that continued resistance from non-Muslims against amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355) would trigger a similar objection from Muslims towards proposed amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976.
PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan said while non-Muslims would not be affected by the motion brought by party president Abdul Hadi Awang, there are Muslims who could be affected by the law that governs marriage, divorce and custody for non-Muslims.
In stressing that PAS has always respected the rights of non-Muslims, Takiyuddin said:
“So I am asking that we play a fair game.
“Do not disturb the rights of Muslims and we hope that Muslims will similarly not create trouble for non-Muslims.
“If they (non-Muslims) want to play that game, we can also go against proposed amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act,” said the Kota Baru MP during a press conference at PAS headquarters in Kuala Lumpur today.
Among others, the proposed amendments were tabled to prevent cases of unilateral conversions in the event that one parent has converted to Islam.
“So we are asking for (matters) that affect Muslims, Act 355, nothing at all to do with non-Muslims, please don’t disturb.
“Then we will also compromise on issues affecting non-Muslims,” he said.
PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, meanwhile, expressed confidence that there could be a change in attitude among BN component parties towards proposed amendments to Act 355, come the next Dewan Rakyat session in March.
“The response is very different now... including from MCA, MIC and Gerakan,” he claimed, adding that the change was partly attributed to separate meetings held with the component party presidents to explain the matter.
With a long relationship fostered during his time with Umno, Parti Ikatan Bangsa Malaysia president Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said he had personally met with both MCA president Liow Tiong Lai and Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong
“I told them there was a serious misunderstanding... When I explained, they said, ‘Are you sure this is the case?’
“I said, ‘Yes this is so’,” said Kadir whose party is now in a political coalition with PAS.
Singapore’s The Straits Times had last Friday quoted Liow as saying that he would consider supporting the proposed amendments if it was tabled by the government.
He however later clarified that MCA remains opposed to any law it deems to be unconstitutional, including the proposed amendments which seeks to seeks to raise the present punishment cap to 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 strokes of the whip.
Abdul Hadi had tabled an amended version of his motion during the final day of the Dewan Rakyat sitting last Thursday but also asked the House to allow him to elaborate on his motion during the next session in March.- Mkini