First published in The Sun, Kuala Lumpur, 18 February 2017
PETALING JAYA: More than 100 people gathered for the counter rally rejecting PAS’ Bill to amend the Syariah Court’s law to include heavier punishments for criminal offence.
The counter rally organised by activists group Bebas at Taman Jaya park here expressed its objection to “Islamisation of Malaysia”.
PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang had in November tabled the amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, known as the Act 355.
“We urge all MPs to heed the concerns of Malaysians who fear that Hadi’s Bill will perpetrate injustices against both Muslims and non-Muslims,” Bebas spokespersons activists Azira Aziz and Azrul Mohd Khalib said in a statement today.
Bebas said Hadi’s proposal to increase the penalties to 30 years jail, 100 strokes of the rotan and RM100,000 fine is excessive and completely absurd as Syariah offences are generally victimless crimes.
“Culpable homicide not amounting to murder, for example, is also punishable with 30 years’ imprisonment.
“How can drinking beer or having consensual extramarital sex be considered a crime equivalent to killing someone?” Bebas said.
Participants displayed placards that read ‘Ensure your elected representatives do not vote for the bill’, ‘I stand against religious tyranny and unjust law’, ‘I am Muslim, I do not support’, ‘Amend the Syariah Court system first’, ‘Stop intellectual and cultural suicide’, ‘It’s game of politics’ and ‘This is PAS’ law’.
The crowd responded positively to the speeches by human rights activists present at the counter rally including lawyer Siti Kassim, Nik Elin Nik Rashid, Haris Ibrahim and Gerakan youth chief Andy Yong.
“Why are those who are against Hadi’s bill are seen as as Islam? We are not against Islam.
“We against injustice. We want to uphold the supremacy of our Federal Constitution,” Yong said, adding that he had received threats to not interfere in Islamic affairs.
Yong said Hadi’s attempt to push the Bill discreetly showed that he is insincere and has a personal agenda. He added that he will resign from the party if it votes Hadi’s Bill.
Some policemen wearing plain clothes were seen observing the gathering.
Petaling Jaya district traffic personnel were also seen controlling the traffic before the entrance of Taman Jaya.