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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

NON-MUSLIMS ARE NEVER AGAINST ISLAM

(Malaysian Chinese News) – I want to emphasize here that non-Muslims are not against Islam. Non-Muslims are only against PAS president Hadi’s private member bill.
On last Saturday, Feb 18, the rally in support of the RUU 355 amendment bill was held successfully and concluded peacefully despite noisy opposition. The rally started at 2pm and ended at 11.20pm, lasting nine hours and 20 minutes.
It was held at Padang Merbok in Kuala Lumpur. In addition to defending the RUU 355 amendment bill [The Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965], PAS also hoped to explain the bill to the public and clear up any confusion. According to estimate, over 50,000 people attended the gathering. The open field was a sea of purple.
Surprisingly, three senior government officials were there. They were Jamil, Minister in charge of religious affairs, Ashraf, a deputy minister in the PM’s department, and SPAD chairman Syed Hamid. They said they joined the rally in their personal capacity, not representing the Government. Nonetheless, I am disappointed with the presence of cabinet minister.
To me, there is no such thing as personal capacity. A minister is a minister because their words would make people think that the Government supports the gathering and thus supports the RUU 355 amendment bill, oblivious to the opposition voiced by the general public.
Among others, I would urge Jamil of the PM’s department to be careful with his words and not to create a wrong perception that non-Muslims are against Islam. Jamil questioned why there had been so much obstruction in enhancing the jurisdiction of the Syariah Courts so much so that they were forced to rally under the rain. This kind of speech is seditious.
Whether he was at the RUU 355 gathering in his personal capacity or not, Jamil should be careful with his words and should not fan up Muslim sentiment and create the wrong impression that non-Muslims are against Islam.
I want to emphasize here that non-Muslims are not against Islam. Non-Muslims are only against PAS president Hadi’s private member bill as the amendment bill goes against the Federal Constitution.
PAS leaders including Hadi himself have insisted that the RUU 355 amendment bill has nothing to do with hudud law. If that is the case, then the public, including Muslims, should have the right to criticize and oppose the bill. PAS leaders should have given up the bill which is against the Federal Constitution and concentrated in national development efforts.
At the same time, BEBAS, promoted by a group of social activists, also held a gathering called “People rejects Hadi’s bill” in a public park in Petaling Jaya from 3pm to 5pm. About 200 people attended the gathering, more than double the projected attendance. I knew that some Gerakan leaders were there in their personal capacity.
I am not against the freedom to assemble and I know that their stand is not based on religion but on legal point because they are of the view that Hadi’s private member bill is against the Constitution.
They acted on their personal conviction and civic responsibility in defending the Federal Constitution. We respect Islam as the federal religion defined under the Constitution and our opposition to the bill is based on legal concern.
As such, their participation at the BEBAS gathering is an expression of public concern over RUU 355 amendment bill’s conflict against the Constitution and I hope it would not be misinterpreted by certain quarters as disrespect of Islam.
PAS president Hadi Awang’s motion to table RUU 355 will be tabled again for the second reading when the parliament sits in March seeking to enhance maximum penalties under Syariah court up to 30 years jail, fine of RM100,000 and 100 lashes of whipping.
Gerakan’s opposition to hudud law is firm and beyond doubt because we don’t want to see two set of legal systems in our country. Every citizen must be treated with basic equality and fairness. People should not be treated unequally because of their religion. Gerakan will strive to defend the Federal Constitution and ensure that its integrity and status would not be shaken.

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