Clarify new law aimed at non-Muslims, PM told

THE Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) has urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to clear the air on plans to enact a new law that targets non-Muslims.

Statements made by Deputy Islamic Affairs Minister Ahmad Marzuk Shaary on the new law had caused “great anxiety” for non-Muslims, said the group in a statement on Wednesday (Sept 8).

“The MCCBCHST calls upon the Prime Minister to clarify the issue before causing further anxiety among our citizens,” it said.

Yesterday, Ahmad Marzuk revealed that the Control and Restriction on the Propagation of Non-Muslim Religions Bill was being drafted.

While the contents of the Bill are still unknown, the minister said that it was a response to the High Court ruling that non-Muslims can use the word ‘Allah’.

According to MCCBCHST, non-Muslims’ rights to religious propagation – except to Muslims – is protected under Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.

Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department’s (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the bills mentioned by Marzuk have yet to be brought to the cabinet as the states had to be consulted first.

Wan Junaidi further pointed out that most states already have laws on the propagation of non-Muslim religions (except for Sarawak, Sabah and Penang).

“Sometimes politicians ‘cakap ikut suka je’ (shoot their mouths off), but it is more about the question of implementation (and) whether the states agree,” he told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday (Sept 7).

Islamic State nation?

Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDS) has similarly rejected the Federal Government’s plan to include a bill on control and restrictions on the development of non-Muslim religions under the new Shariah law.

“Is Malaysia now under the new Prime Minister and his appointed cabinet going to change Malaysia to an Islamic State nation?” asked PBDS president Bobby William in a statement on Tuesday (Sept 7).

“We, as Sarawakians, have been and always will be a democratic multi-racial nation with multi-religious communities.

“We believe most Sarawakians will not agree to the inclusion of such a bill and any implementation of hudud related enforcement of law in the name of democracy for equality of each tribal community and freedom of religion in Sarawak.”

According to William, the onus is now on Sarawak and Sabah MPs to stop such a bill from becoming law.

In fact, he opined that this should be the time for the ministers, deputy ministers, MPs as well as assemblymen from Sarawak and Sabah to prove how well they recognise themselves as Sarawakians and Sabahans.

“We believe that our forefathers from Sarawak and Sabah, when they finally agreed to form Malaysia with the federation of Malaya, did not include a religious bind governance which integrates an Islamic hudud law with the civil law of democracy.

“Sarawak and Sabah have always been democratic and equal in our way of life, that’s how we honour and respect each other’s culture and tradition.” – Sept 8, 2021


Photo credit: MalaysiaKini

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