THERE are enough laws that prohibit the propagation of religions other than Islam to Muslims in the country.
I don’t know why the government needs further restrictions on the spread of religions other than Islam.
The recent proposal announced by the deputy minister who is from PAS to table four new Shariah laws including the one that restricts the propagation of religions other than Islam is one among them.
I don’t understand why there is need to overkill on the question of further restrictions on religions other than Islam.
Islam is the official religion of the country protected by the Constitution.
At the same the Constitution allows for the practice of other religions.
The highest law if the land, the Constitution, gives cognisance to the multi-racial and multi-ethnic character of the country.
After more than 64 years of independence there is no threat to Islam, although religions other than Islam have been subject to restrictions in many areas.
Ethnic and religious extremism, for political survival, have been the main reason as to why politicians in ethnic and religious parties have always sought to portray the image that Islam was under threat.
Apart from the perception fuelled by religious extremism, I don’t think that Islam is really under threat from secular forces.
PAS, the so-called firebrand Islamic party, is one political party that has used Islam for its political survival.
Take away the religious factor, the party will collapse.
I think that the recent high court decision that permits non-Muslims to use the word “Allah” which in Arabic means God could be the reason why the religious affairs department has come up with the idea of a new legislation.
I am sure the high court decision might not be the final one, the decision might be appealed to the superior courts.
Given this, why the hurry in coming with this legislation that needs among other things to be approved by the cabinet and states in the country.
This is mere a political act on the part of PAS leaders to show to the Muslims in the country that are very much involved in protecting Muslims from the divisive secular forces.
Is it wonder that the deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Ahmad Marzuk Shaary who proposed the four new Shariah laws comes from PAS.
It is strange that the newly-minted Prime Minister is talking about Malaysians being one big family, but PAS is going berserk with its religious portfolio.
For the divisive religious forces best represented in PAS, there cannot be one family in Malaysia.
PAS functions or thrives by creating antagonism between Muslims and those who do not profess this faith.
It is only racists and religious extremists in the country who will constantly conjure up the thought of Islam under seize and that it needs to be protected not just politically but by improvements in legislations.
Thus the proposed Shariah law to prevent the propagation of religions other than Islam to Muslims is a reflection of the sad state of ethnic and religious relations in the country.
An impression is given that Muslims are facing an imminent danger from the proselytising activities of those from other religions.
A new law in the light of the recent court decision is needed to close any loopholes that might exist in the religious propagation activities.
What one big family? There is none to think of.
Ramasamy Palanisamy is the state assemblyperson for Perai. He is also deputy chief minister II of Penang.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.