Minister in the Prime Minister's department declines to answer if Umno will be participating in PAS' mega rally in support of the proposed Shariah Law amendments.
PUTRAJAYA: Umno minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan has advised the public not to get “over excited” over the proposed amendments to the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355).
It is still too early to assume that the bill brought by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang would be passed in parliament, as there is still plenty of room for discussion, he said.
“People must understand we have a robust democracy. In Parliament, every single MP can bring a private member’s bill on anything they like.
“But whether or not it will be passed, is subject to very robust discussions, debates and a voting process.
“We are still at a very early stage of the proposed bill, although the government has decided it will take it on. But let’s not get over excited,” he told a press conference at the Dorsett Hotel here today.
Rahman was commenting on PAS’ mega rally planned for next month, to show the public’s support for Hadi’s bill.
He was asked if Umno would be supporting the rally, and if the party would participate in it.
The Kota Belud (Sabah) MP did not really answer the question, but said the country is mature enough to discuss and debate on sensitive issues without “going overboard”.
“This is what democracy is all about, what the parliament is all about. It’s a platform for us to debate on issues, so let us see how it pans out.
“I have faith in all our MPs, to decide the best course for the nation. For Umno, we have to wait and see (what) our position (is).
“We are engaging the grassroots and finding out (what they think about it). People like me, a leader from Sabah, of course everyone knows we have a liberal view of certain aspects of this country.”
The rally, slated for Feb 18 at Dataran Merdeka, is expected to be attended by 300,000 people. It has been objected to by Barisan Nasional’s component party MCA, who said it would only cause racial tension.
Meanwhile, when asked about Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s claim that Malaysians could expect huge areas of land to become foreign enclaves, Rahman said the former prime minister should know better.
Mahathir had also claimed that these foreigners might one day be given the right to vote, an allegation similar to that used against BN in the last general election.
“People come and go in any country. People invest, (participate in) the movement of capital and the movement of people, this happens all around the world,” Rahman said.
“I think Mahathir, being someone who had gone all around the world asking foreigners to come and invest in our country, to now allege that investors can come, stay and one day vote, is ridiculous.
“I feel sorry for him.”
Mahathir last week said huge tracts of land around Johor Bahru were being sold and once these areas were developed into housing and related properties, it would lead to “mass immigration of foreigners” taking up residence in these new townships.