KUALA LUMPUR: The PAS Supporters’ Wing (DHPP) representative Balachandran G Krishnan believes non-Muslim MPs are rejecting the party’s bill to enhance the punitive powers of the shariah courts because some Muslim MPs themselves are opposed to it.
He said non-Muslim MPs had not objected to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act in 1965 or the first amendment in 1984.
“The reason they dare to object now is because Muslim MPs themselves are objecting to it, so what more the non-Muslims who are ‘jahil’ (ignorant) of the Act,” he said.
Balachandran said it would be wise for proponents of the proposed amendments, popularly known as Hadi’s bill, to focus their efforts on convincing Muslims to support the proposal.
“Of the 222 MPs, 135 are Muslims; 65% of Malaysians are Muslims, so what is the point of trying to convince the non-Muslims?
“Convince the Muslims.”
He was speaking on the Himpunan 355 rally at a Bicara Harakah live forum at MyHarakah Bazaar here today.
Himpunan 355 aims to gather 300,000 people at Dataran Merdeka on Feb 18 to show support for PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill for stiffer shariah punishment.
Himpunan 355 punishment is currently limited to jail terms not exceeding three years, whipping of not more than six strokes, or fines not more than RM5,000.
Malaysian Muslim Solidarity (Isma) deputy president Aminuddin Yahya, who was also present, claimed there were three groups of people in Malaysia who were opposed to the bill.
“First are non-Muslims who are going against Islam; second are liberal Muslims who may be confused about their religion; and third are intelligent Muslims who are opposing it with a heavy heart and doing so for political reasons,” he said, alluding to Amanah members as the third group.
“They (Amanah) are for the amendments so much so that they have presented their own version of the amendments. At the same time, they are trying to seem as though they aren’t. This is to get the support of non-Muslims.”
He said he was convinced the majority of Malaysians did not have an issue with the proposed amendments but claimed the three groups were always featured in the media and were able to sway opinions.
On the claim that the amendments were unconstitutional, Aminuddin said if this were true, the 1984 amendment would not have been possible.
“I want to stress here that this is not the first time the Act has been amended, but the second. Therefore, the question of whether it is constitutional should not arise.”
On claims that Umno had allowed Hadi to propose the bill in Parliament for political mileage, Aminuddin said: “So be it.”
“If there is cooperation between PAS and Umno for something that is good for Muslims, what could be wrong about that?
“Let me ask all the Muslim MPs from DAP, PKR, Umno and any other party: what are you struggling for if not for Allah and Islam?
“And if you’re not supporting the effort to strengthen the shariah courts, then obviously you’re not struggling for Allah and Islam.
“If you’re not struggling for Allah and Islam, then I say you’re struggling for your own selfish desires.”