Malaysians should pressure lawmakers as their elected representatives to vote against the PAS president’s controversial Bill for harsher punishments for Shariah offences, activists said today.
Activist Haris Ibrahim urged Malaysians to take the private member’s Bill seriously, noting that it only needs a simple majority in Parliament to be voted through by federal lawmakers.
“Go to your Muslim opposition MPs, particularly from PKR, go in numbers to their operations room, bring the media with you and ask them to pledge openly that they will vote down the Bill. No smses, no emails, these guys are shameless and so we need to confront them openly on this issue, take ownership.
“If they are not prepared to pledge, tell them don’t even bother to contest GE14,” he told a multiracial crowd of over 100 people in a rally here, referring to the 14th general election which must be held by 2018.
Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, a former law minister who clarified that he was not speaking on behalf of the federal opposition nor the DAP which he just joined, reminded Muslim MPs “to fight for what is just” if they are “truly” Muslims.
“We must make sure, any of your MP or wakil rakyat who support the Bill, you reject them. Enough of this nonsense, afraid of losing votes.
“If you are afraid of losing votes, you do the right thing, you will get the votes,” he said at the same rally.
He pointed out that Malaysians are smart and would not be easily fooled into voting for those supporting the Bill, which he said has nothing to do with religion but has been politicised.
Lawyer Nik Elin Nik Rashid, another speaker at the rally, noted the need to uphold the spirit of the al-Quran for justice for all and God’s mercy and compassion, adding that inflicting violence was merely a mechanism to exert power.
“Justice is beyond punishments. Why is it always that if it is to be an Islamic government, hudud has to be implemented? Clearly that is not a priority to govern a state or country.
“Why not use conscience and reasoning instead of punishment? An educated society is a civilised society, after all these has been established, then only can we punish those who still commit crimes,” the Islamic family law practitioner said.
“Should you vote for the Hadi motion? Choose justice, choose humanity. It’s not going to make you a lesser Muslim if you voted against it,” she later added.
The rally today by the Bebas movement is against PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s Bill for a law amendment to increase the Shariah courts’ sentencing powers to a maximum of 30 years jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 lashes, up from the current limits of three years’ jail, RM5,000 fine and six lashes.
Despite denial by PAS, critics have argued that the bid to change the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 is a backdoor attempt to allow the harsh Islamic penal code of hudud to be enforced and pointed out that certain hudud offences would be enforceable.
Bebas member Azrul Mohd Khalib, said that harsher Shariah penalties would oppress those who are most vulnerable as seen in Indonesia’s Acheh, where even non-Muslims are whipped for Shariah offences.
“You tell them (MPs) that while you are thinking about retaining your seats in GE14, we here are thinking about Malaysia’s future and our children and remind them if they want our votes, vote no to Hadi’s 355 motion,” he told the crowd.
Bebas member Boo Su-Lyn urged Malaysians to inundate MPs with phone calls, text messages and emails until they pledge to vote no to the Bill, noting the high likelihood of it becoming law as the many MPs who have chose to remain silent on the Bill could well skip Parliament or decline to vote.
“Let me tell MPs now, if they vote yes to Hadi’s Bill or if they abstain from voting, we will vote them out – both Pakatan and Barisan Nasional – in the next election. There is no neutral ground, you either vote yes or no,” she said.
So far only DAP, Gerakan, MCA, MIC and Sarawak BN have pledged to vote against the Bill, she said.
Lawyer and Bebas member Azira Aziz and youth activist Vince Tan also spoke at the rally, with the latter calling on Malaysians to again gather outside Parliament on the day of debate of Hadi’s Bill to express their objection. Lawyer Andy Yong, who is also Gerakan Youth deputy chief, was also one of the rally’s speakers.
Source : IDA LIM @ Malay Mail Online