MCA Religious Harmony Bureau Chairman Ti Lian Ker has called on politicians to stop their “one-upmanship” as well as to stop using religion as a political tool.
He was responding to Amanah’s counter proposal to PAS Marang MP Abdul Hadi Awang’s Private Member’s Bill on Act 355, ostensibly to enhance the powers of shariah courts.
Speaking to FMT, Ti said politicians had expanded from race-based politics to those that are religion-based.
“All religions are sacred and should be respected. We should be mindful not to mix them with politics.”
He said Amanah was similar to PAS in using religion for political gain albeit in a more “discreet and gentle” way.
“PAS moves in the fast lane of political Islam. Amanah may be treading more cautiously, but in the end they are both the same. Both are using religion to gain political mileage and power.”
Amanah has claimed that its counter proposal would sit better with non-Muslim MPs.
Amanah Communications Director Khalid Samad questioned whether Hadi was merely playing politics when he tabled his Bill.
However, Ti said Amanah was doing the same thing with its counter proposal.
“We should move away from politicising Islam and place more emphasis and focus on welfare, social development and humanity.
“If they say that Hadi is politicking then the same thing can be said about them.
“We need a more low-key discussion if there’s sincerity.”
Meanwhile, Penang DAP Vice-Chairman Zairil Khir Johari praised the counter proposal and said it proved Hadi’s Bill was “flawed and shallow”.
“I think Amanah’s proposal makes much more sense.
“They have rightly pointed out that the shariah court system has many areas that need improvement.
“If PAS was sincere in enhancing the shariah courts, then they should focus on these constructive proposals instead of just obsessing over punitive measures.”
He added that the quality of the private member’s bill by a veteran MP and president of the second largest Malay party was “shocking”.
“It’s a bill that has no nuance whatsoever, does not truly address the problems and does not propose practical solutions.
“I believe Malaysians can now see the difference between what some parties can offer as opposed to others.
“Amanah’s reform proposals at least make sense, whereas the blank cheque bill proposed by Hadi is unbefitting of our federal legislature.”
Amanah’s counter proposal, revealed Wednesday, seeks the formation of a special committee, made up of shariah court chief judges from each state, professionals and religious scholars as well as relevant authorities.
The special committee will be in charge of overseeing steps in empowering the shariah courts, including increasing its efficiency through sharpening the skills of shariah court judges and staff, increasing understanding of institutions, government departments and private parties towards the shariah court’s role, reevaluating the salary schemes of shariah court judges and staff, as well as reevaluating the effectiveness of shariah court punishment and types of punishment.
Sheith Khidhir Bin Abu Bakar