KUALA LUMPUR: If those who reject PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s bill to amend the Shariah Act are anti-Islam, then are Sarawak Muslim leaders also against the religion?
This was the question posed by DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang, who lost his cool in the Dewan Rakyat today as he called on PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang to “grow up” and be a true Malaysian.
This came as the Gelang Patah MP slammed Hadi for insinuating that DAP is an anti-Islam party for refusing to support the latter’s private member’s bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355).
“Motion number seven is on PAS president’s private member’s bill. The PAS president said if don’t agree (with the bill), then (they are) anti-Islam.
“So is the Sarawak chief minister anti-Islam? He has instructed all 25 Sarawak MPs, including four ministers who are Muslims, to reject the bill.”
He was referring to Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg, who had reaffirmed the stand of his predecessor, the late Adenan Satem, on Hadi’s bill, which has also been dubbed as the hudud bill.
Adenan had repeatedly stated Sarawak’s stance against the implementation of hudud law.
“Are they anti-Islam?” asked Lim.
The MPs present in the Dewan this afternoon then unanimously responded with a “No”.
Lim also replied to his own question with a firm “no”, and called for the practice of labeling others as the opponents of other races or religions to stop.
This, he added, was important if the country wished to be a “Malaysian nation”.
“Stop talking about anti-Malay, anti-Chinese, anti-Islam or anti-Christian. We must be for all races and religions.
“Grow up. The PAS president must grow up, be a Malaysian.”
Hadi was not the first to label DAP anti-Islam for not backing his bill, which seeks to provide shariah courts with greater punitive powers.
Just last month, PAS’ spiritual adviser Hashim Jasin branded DAP anti-Islam and accused the party of refusing to uphold the religion.
He had said this when explaining that the Islamist party was cooperating with Umno as the Malay-based party could still be relied on compared with other “anti-Islam” parties.
The amendments proposed in Hadi’s bill seek, among others, an increase in the current jail term, for offences listed in the Act, from three to 30 years. They also propose a fine of up to RM100,000 and up to 100 strokes of the cane.
Currently, shariah criminal punishment is capped at three years’ jail, RM5,000 fine and six strokes of the cane.
Apart from DAP, detractors of the controversial bill also include BN component parties such as MCA and Gerakan as well as Muslim activists.