MCA cannot oppose PAS' move to hold a public event to explain amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355), said Umno supreme council member Nazri Abdul Aziz.
The Culture and Tourism Minister said it is PAS' democratic right to hold the rally.
"MCA cannot disagree because (peaceful assembly) is the fundamental right of every individual, and the law (Peaceful Assembly Act 2012) was passed by Parliament when I was law minister.
"We have a law which allows anyone to hold a gathering because we believe people have a right to do based on stipulated rules," he said when met in Kuala Lumpur.
PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man yesterday announced the party will hold a mega rally to explain the Act 355 proposed amendments to the public, especially Muslims.
Tuan Ibrahim said several hundred NGOs who support the amendment will join the rally which will be held at Dataran Merdeka and expected to attract about 300,000 people.
MCA, however, objected to this and said the Feb 18 rally could have a detrimental impact on national unity.
Commenting further, Nazri said MCA has a right to hold a counter-rally to rebut PAS.
"I believe no one can stop MCA if they choose to do so, as long as the party fulfills the requirements of the Peaceful Assembly Act," he said.
No restriction on Umno members
The Padang Rengas MP added he was sure Umno will not take action against any member who attends the Feb 18 rally.
"It's a fundamental human right and we cannot stop anyone from joining the rally. I doubt Umno will issue an instruction (against attending the rally), because this is individual choice," he said.
He was asked if Umno will take disciplinary action against its members who attend the PAS rally.
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang last year submitted a private member's bill to amend Act 355, to raise the penalty limit of three years' jail, RM5,000 fine and six strokes of the whip.
The first bill he submitted sought to remove cap completely, raising speculation that it would allow the hudud to be implemented in Kelantan and Terengganu which has enactments with hudud provisions.
However, Hadi amended his bill to put a cap on the penalty Syariah Court can dispense to 30 years' jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 strokes of the whip.
The government said it will take over Hadi's bill and make it a government bill after it is tabled in the next sitting in March.
Government business takes precedence over other matters in the House.-Mkini