Preemptive attempt of announcing introduction of shariah laws is putting cart before horses

Datuk Seri Doris Brodie

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KUCHING, Sept 10: The preemptive attempt to announce the introduction of four shariah laws by Deputy Minister in Prime Minister (Religious Affairs) Ahmad Marzuk Shaary is an act of putting the cart before the horses.

This is the view of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) women chief cum vice president Dato Sri Doris Brodie who after reading the news of Ahmad Marzuk’s announcement, is of the opinion that “something is not right” as the priority and focus were both “wrong”.

“This can’t be part of the (national) recovery plan. It is a divisive approach; the bills risk dividing Malaysians. They completely contradict our new Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s call for all Malaysians to come together as ‘Keluarga Malaysia’.

“Besides, the protocol in announcing the proposed laws is like putting the cart before the horses. As explained by (Datuk Seri) Wan Junaidi (Tuanku Jaafar), the de facto Law Minister, the proposed laws have yet to be brought to the cabinet and that all states must consent to those laws before they could be brought to Parliament since religious matters come under the jurisdiction of state governments.

“We in PRS see it as an overzealous act without properly considering the consequences or having an understanding of the procedure,” said Doris.

It has been reported that four new shariah laws are being drafted by the Federal government including a bill for control and restrictions on the development of non-Muslim religions by Ahmad Marzuk.

A Wakaf Bill, Mufti Bill and Syariah Court Bill are the other new laws being planned. The new laws are part of a five-year plan by the federal government in which 11 changes will be made to strengthen shariah laws, which will include amendments to existing legislation and eight subsidiary shariah laws, as part of the government’s “Empowerment Plan”.

To Doris, the proposed bill on control and restrictions on the development of non-Muslim religions is unconstitutional as it contradicts Article 11 as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

Besides, to propose a bill to control and restrict on the development of non-Muslim religions is against the spirit of Article 3 (1) of the Federal Constitution which stipulates that Islam is the religion of the federation but other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony, in any part of the federation.

“We in PRS strongly opposed this. A plural and multi religious Malaysia cannot be bound by a law that is so backward and divisive in nature.

“We also believed that the proposed bill will not fare well with Sarawakians. Sarawakians will be united on this.

“Like Sabah, we strongly believed that our Sarawak government is also holding firmly to the principle of religious freedom as declared both in the Federal Constitution and the Malaysian Agreement 1963,” said Doris.

She believed that the Federal government now should focus on handling the pandemic as Malaysian at large are expecting and looking forward for an effective and comprehensive post-Covid19 recovery plan that focuses not only on the financial aspects but also on social safety nets, food security, education & cohesive social fabric. — DayakDaily