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Saturday, 18 February 2017 | MYT 4:51 PM

RUU355 will affect all Malaysians, says activist

PETALING JAYA: PAS' proposed Syariah Court amendments will affect all Malaysians, said social activist Azrul Khalib (pic).

The harsher Syariah punishments that PAS is seeking would most likely target the weaker and more vulnerable members of society, he told a counter-rally protesting the amendments.

Citing the example of Indonesia's Aceh province, where an elderly non-Muslim woman was whipped in public for selling alcohol, Azrul said this proves that non-Muslims can be affected by the Syariah amendments.

“They will go after the weak and the vulnerable, women and those from the lower-income group trying to earn money. They will be victimised and they will be the ones who will have to pay,” Azrul said at the counter-rally in Taman Jaya here.

The counter-rally, organised by non-governmental organisation Bebas, is being held to protest the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355) amendments tabled in the Dewan Rakyat through a Private Member’s Bill by PAS president and Marang MP Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.

PAS supporters are holding a rally supporting the amendments at Padang Merbok in Kuala Lumpur.

Azrul said that non-Muslims are already affected by Syariah laws and regulations, even without the amendments.

He pointed to recent incidents such as non-halal paintbrushes being seized and fast food chain McDonald’s only allowing Halal-certified birthday cakes at its premises.

“These are just small issues in comparison with what will happen,” he said.

“We all deserve equal treatment under the law, and we must make sure that this guarantee is not broken.

“We are expressing our dissatisfaction with what's happening in our country today ... we are concerned as Malaysians,” he added.

Azrul called on all Malaysians to speak out against the amendments popularly known as Hadi's Bill.

“We have a voice. We have an equal stake in this country, along with our Muslim brothers and sisters,” he said.

Taking note of the lack of MPs at the counter-rally, Azrul urged the crowd to contact their electoral representatives to tell them to vote ‘No’ to Hadi’s Bill.

“We will send a letter to the Dewan and make sure that our voices are heard,” he added.

Several people from all walks of life gathered at Taman Jaya, carrying placards voicing their protest against Hadi’s Bill.

Meanwhile, supporters of Hadi's Bill gathered at Padang Merbok on Saturday.

Abdul Hadi had read out an amended version of his Bill in Parliament in November last year, but deferred its tabling and debate to the next sitting in March.

Related stories:

PAS rally kicks off at Padang Merbok

‘Non-Muslims should not be afraid’ of RUU355

Tags / Keywords: RUU355 , Azrul Khalib , Malaysia

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