PETALING JAYA: MCA is not objecting to PAS’ right to hold a rally over proposed amendments the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965.
It is the subject matter that the party opposes. The party believes the subject matter can cause division in the nation, said MCA religious harmony bureau chairman Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker.
He was responding to Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz’s statement, who said that PAS has the right to hold a rally as long as it follows the conditions set under the Peaceful Assembly Act.
“Nazri, who as both a lawyer and a lawmaker himself should know better that the proposed tweaks to the Syariah Court Bill which formally enables implementation of state enactments, will reduce the testimony weightage of non-Muslims and women including Muslim women, thereby contravening Article 8 of the Federal Constitution which ensures equality before the law,” he said.
PAS wants to hold the rally to promote its president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s Private Members Bill on amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act.
The purple-themed rally, called Himpunan RUU355, after the Bahasa Malaysia abbreviation of the Bill, is scheduled for Feb 18.
Ti added that the cautionary tone made by Nazri who warned MCA not to oppose the rally, goes against the spirit of Barisan Nasional’s formula of consensus and multiracial goodwill.
“As there are laws against security threats and sedition where any gathering which disrupts the peace and stability of the nation and harmony between races, Nazri should be aware that this rally is grounded on religion and can undermine peaceful co-existence so long cherished and desired by peace-loving Malaysians,” he added.
Ti said MCA was wary that the PAS rally may be warped into an “us-vs-them or Muslims vs non-Muslims furore.”
“At no time is MCA against Islam. On the contrary, MCA always respects Islam as the religion of the federation as granted in the Federal Constitution,” he said in a statement yesterday.
He also noted that PAS had previously given false assurances before both in the 2008 and 2013 general elections claiming as pushing for a welfare state and its laws will not affect non-Muslims.
“PAS should not pre-empt discussions on the Bill by invoking religious fervour and emotion.
“We do not want detractors to twist the constitutional issues raised by opponents of the Bill as trying to stymy PAS from holding a mega rally in accordance with the procedures of the Peaceful Assembly Act,” said Ti.