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Non-Muslim to host hudud forum in English with PAS in Penang

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GEORGE TOWN: A private citizen will hold an open forum on hudud law next week in an attempt to promote better understanding among non-Muslims of PAS’ attempt to strengthen shariah law.

Dr Ronnie Ooi, a retired medical doctor who has served in the United Kingdom, will host an open forum titled “PAS explains hudud and Hadi Awang’s parliamentary Bill and asks for feedback”.

The free talk will be held on Feb 25 and conducted in English at the YMCA in Macalister Road, George Town.

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The panellists include Kelantan state Exco member and PAS central working committee member Dr Mohamed Fadzli Hassan and Ahmad Jailani Abdul Ghani, from PAS’ national lajnah dakwah committee.

Jailani is also the member of the Shariah Criminal Code federal technical committee, tasked with overlooking the amendments to the Islamic penal code with the Attorney-General’s Chambers and other MPs.

“As non-Muslims, we view the implementation of hudud with fear and anger. But anger provides no solutions.

“We need to tell PAS our objections in a face-to-face dialogue. Opposing hudud does not mean we can’t work with PAS on issues like fighting corruption in the government.

“We must not let the hudud issue split the country into Muslim and non-Muslim groups who do not speak to each other,” Ooi said at a press conference at YMCA Macalister Road here today.

Pesent were Jailani, Penang PAS lajnah dakwah chief Amir Hamzah Abd Hashim and his deputy, Abdul Rahim Kassim; and civil and syarie lawyer Khairul Kamal Razali.

Meanwhile, Jailani said those participating in the forum will be able to ask questions directly from those drafting the amendments to the shariah law itself, including himself.

He said many misconceptions, such as views that the Islamic penal code was against the constitution, would also be addressed at the forum.

“We never had the chance to explain to non-Muslims about the Bill we are presenting in Parliament.

“The Bill does not permit amputation of limbs or stoning to death. The Bill allows shariah courts to impose fines, prison sentences and whipping.

“The law is only applicable to Muslims and those who are not Muslims need not fret,” Jailani said.

PAS had sought to enhance the punishments meted out through the existing Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act, through a private members’ Bill in Parliament.

The Bill will be tabled again when Parliament convenes next month.

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