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‘MIC clearly opposes shariah bill’

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KUALA LUMPUR: The MIC has brushed aside an accusation by Indian rights NGO Hindraf that it has not voiced out its opposition to the shariah amendment bill, describing the claim as baseless and misdirected.

Its information chief, VS Mogan, today said the party had extensive dialogues within its central working committee on its approach to safeguard the constitutional rights of non-Muslims.

“MIC prefers to seek a consultative resolution to this very emotive issue rather than being seemingly combative or confrontational just to appease critics like (Hindraf chairman P) Waythamoorthy.

“The party has from the onset made it very clear its opposition to the proposed amendments,” he said in a statement.

Waythamoorthy yesterday criticised MIC as being a “lame duck” in reportedly claiming to be uninformed about the move by the government itself to table the shariah bill in Parliament.

PAS president Hadi Awang had originally proposed the amendments to increase the punitive powers of shariah courts but now the government has taken over the tabling of the bill.

Waythamoorthy had accused the party of not having the guts to oppose the unconstitutional creeping of Islamisation “through the back door”.

Mogan said MIC, having consulted legal experts, Indian NGOs and community leaders, was ready with its appropriate action plan and response to ensure the constitutional rights of the community were not altered by the proposed shariah amendments.

He said the party held to the belief that its views and those of other component members within the BN coalition would eventually prevail, ensuring the sanctity of the Federal Constitution and safeguarding the country’s pluralistic fabric.

“Failure to achieve a consensus would mean a journey into turbulent waters for all Malaysians.”

He said the party would voice the community’s concerns on the proposed shariah amendment bill.

MIC president Dr S Subramaniam had stated that the party was waiting for Najib Razak, who is BN chairman, to brief component parties on the shariah bill this week.

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