Raymindthong Ps18sep

Recently the Deputy Minister in the PM’s Department (Religious Affairs), Ahmad Marzuk Shaary was talking about the Fed Govt introducing a Bill to control the activities of non-Muslims religions. Before the dust has settled, the RUU 355 (Rang Undang-undang) is now being brought up.

RUU was tabled by PAS President Hadi Awang in May 26, 2016 as a private member Bill. This time the person who raised this up is PM Ismail Sabri. He said the fed govt is in the midst of drafting the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) (Amendment) to increase the criminal powers of the Shariah Courts. He said the govt Bill will be presented to the states for discussion once it is finalised. Islamic law falls under state jurisdiction.

PM wants to make the Shariah Courts to be on par with civil courts. Why is he doing this when his majority is razor-thin of 114. It is quite obvious the Bill will face defeat when it is presented in Parliament for voting. Why then did he still want to take this risk? One can only deduce it is to boost his standing in the Malay community for the coming PRU15. By pushing this RUU355, he is taking ownership away from Hadi Awang who initially presented it as a private member Bill. PM knows that come PRU15, UMNO has to compete with PAS for the Malay votes. Though UMNO and PAS are partners in PM’s govt, but comes PRU15 UMNO will have to fight PAS to win the Malay votes. Since they are competing for the same Malay votes, they have to outdo each other to let the Malays know they are more Islamic than the other.

PH has just signed a MOU with PM govt to cooperate with each other. This MOU has given PM the confidence to focus the Malay votes which he has been championing all this while. If PH goes against his agenda and pulls out thus causing the MOU collapse, he can blame PH for the failure.

Coming back to Sarawak and the GPS govt. Is RUU355 new to them? Certainly not! This private Bill was introduced by the PAS President with their full knowledge in 2016 but was temporary shelfed. Now the PM whom GPS has supported is reintroducing RUU355 for debate. Every PM knows that there should be no official state religion for secular Sarawak. This is one of the key conditions in forming Malaysia. Then why is Ismail Sabri doing this? We can safely say the 70% Malay voters in Malaya is more important than Sarawak. This 70% will make or break UMNO and PM cannot afford not to pay attention to them. Once again, this is at the expense of Sarawak. Is GPS going to remain quiet to let PM push through RUU355 and gets what he wants? Furthermore, Wan Junaidi from GPS is the Law Minister. This has put GPS under the microscope.

On Sept 16 as reported in Dayak Daily, CM said GPS govt rejects all elements against religious freedom and will continue to make sure that the welfare of all religions will be preserved. He said the govt has contributed RM165mil for the construction of other religious houses of worship (Unifor) since 2017. He said GPS rejects all elements that contradict the guarantee of religious freedom and will ensure the welfare of other religions are always safeguarded. He said GPS has been honouring the freedom of religion as enshrined in the Federal Constitution. What is mentioned in MA63 is there will be no official state religion, while Sarawak recognises Islam as the official religion of the Federation.

Since GPS knows that freedom of religion is enshrined in the Federal Constitution and also what is mentioned in MA63, there is no official state religion for Sarawak, then tell PM Ismail Sabri on the face to kill of the RUU355 Bill. If PM refuses, then give him an ultimatum, that GPS will pull out. Let us watch what GPS and PM will do next. CM has said RU355 will not impact Sarawak and Wan Junaidi also said the same thing. If a house has a leaking roof, will all the people staying in the same house get affected or not?

The former CM of Sabah, Shafie Apdal said, “We are here to build a nation, not a particular race or religion”

Raymond Thong
Director of Political Affairs
Southern Zone
Parti Bumi Kenyalang

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