Hornbill Unleashed

March 23, 2017

State clearly opposition to shariah bill, Sarawak govt urged

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

Rev-Daron-Tan-sarawakThe Sarawak Ministers’ Fellowship (SMF) has called on the state government to make an unequivocal statement opposing the shariah amendment bill, saying the rest of the nation was looking to it to provide leadership in religious freedom as promised to its own people.

Its chairman Rev Daron Tan today expressed concern about the state’s undisclosed stance in spite of earlier expressions of opposition to it.

He said SMF had earlier this month written to every Sarawak MP, asking them to declare their stand on the bill which is expected to be tabled in the current parliamentary sitting which ends on April 6.

The letter had called on the MPs to make a commitment to attend Parliament and vote against the bill, to uphold the wellbeing, peace and justice of the non-Muslim community.

“The reason for this was that SMF wanted Sarawakian MPs to be guided by the principles upon which Malaysia was founded in 1963,” he said in a statement.

Only four of the 31 MPs from the state responded, he added. They were Kuching Bandar MP Chong Chieng Jen, Lanang MP Alice Lau, Sibu MP Oscar Ling and Julau MP Joseph Salang anak Gandum.

“We are unsettled by the deafening silence from the rest of the MPs whom we made contacts with,” Tan said.

On March 18, Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg was quoted by Bernama as saying he had stated his stand on the bill to Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Johari said the stand was conveyed after he met with Sarawak MPs on the matter.

Tan said Johari had not publicly disclosed what the stand was.

He said Sarawak BN and opposition MPs should take a united and common stand against the bill to live up to the oath they had taken when entering Parliament to protect, defend and uphold the constitution.

“The ramifications for non-Muslims are serious, all-pervading and could lead to injustice and breaches of the Federal Constitution and the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

“The priority for Sarawak is the fulfilment of the promises and pre-conditions in the Malaysia Agreement 1963,” he added.

Tan said: “If the bill is passed it will give rise to inter-religious conflict. The on-going progressive erosion of religious freedom is like an ever tightening noose with no sign of letting up.”

He said it would lead to unrest in Sarawak and other parts of the nation as one group “tramples over the rights and interest” of other groups in the name of religion.

He said historical documents relating to the formation of Malaysia were littered with emphases on the safeguards for religious freedom based on the spirit and concept of “complete freedom of religion”.

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang had proposed the private member’s bill in the Dewan Rakyat last year. Later, the government said it will table the bill.

The bill to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 seeks to raise the maximum penalties for shariah offences to 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 strokes of the cane.

Shariah court punishment is currently capped at jail terms not exceeding three years, a maximum of RM5,000 in fines and whipping of not more than six strokes of the cane.

Source : @ FMT Online


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