The Star – Oppose Hadi’s Bill, consultative council urges MPs

Petaling Jaya-Selangor-Malaysia, 4 March 2017. The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) has reiterated its call for MPs to oppose PAS’ Private Member’s Bill.

“As the Bill will have far-reaching consequences to the people and nation, (we) feel duty-bound to challenge our elected representatives in Parliament to do their duty as required by their solemn oath to preserve and protect the Federal Constitution, which embodies the secular status of our country,” the council said in a statement yesterday.

The Private Member’s Bill seeks to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 to give the Syariah Courts the power to mete out harsher punishments for syariah offences.

On November 24, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang read out a motion to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act by inserting punishment caps of 30 years’ jail, RM 100,000 fine, and 100 lashes.

Currently, the penalties based on the last amendment in 1984 allows for a jail term of not more than three years, or fine of not less than RM 5,000, or not more than six lashes.

The council also called on Malaysians to oppose the Bill at the next parliamentary meeting this month.

“We have consistently maintained that there is no necessity of implementing hudud in a multiracial and multi-religious society like Malaysia,” it said.

MCCBCHST said should there be an attempt to amend the Constitution, it would be a violation of an agreement reached between members of the Alliance Party in 1957, and with Sabah and Sarawak in 1963.

It also said that Article 4 of the Federal Constitution states that the Constitution is the supreme law of the nation, and any law after Merdeka which is inconsistent with it would be void.

“Even when Sabah and Sarawak, together with Singapore came together to form Malaysia (1963), there was no stated intention to introduce religious laws,” it said.

The council said a multi-racial country like Malaysia could not afford to alter the secular character of the Constitution to allow for the implementation of religious law.

“Even the first three prime ministers were on record to have stated that Malaysia was conceived to be a secular country,” it said.

Meanwhile, the Christian Federation of Malaysia said any proposed amendments to Act 355 should only be initiated by the Government after a thorough study of its impact and gravity on all Malaysians.

Its executive committee and chairman Reverend Dr Eu Hong Seng said any intended increase of the punishments should be in accordance with sound principles of the law and the Constitution.

“The Christian Federation of Malaysia calls upon Members of Parliament not to approve proposed amendments to Act 355,” it said in a statement.

It also called on all Malaysians to contact their MPs to ensure they attend the sitting of the Dewan Rakyat and not to vote in favour of the amendments.


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