Amanah to table private member’s bills on race relations

mujahid-parlimenALOR STAR: The Amanah national convention today approved a motion for its MPs to bring three private member’s bills to Parliament to tackle the problem of prejudice.

The three bills are on Race and Religious Hatred, Equality and a National Harmony Commission.

The motion today was tabled at the convention by Amanah vice-president Mujahid Yusof Rawa.

“This is based on several incidents and the danger of certain quarters using narrow racism and religious dogma along with racial and religious radicalisation to threaten relations among various races and religions in the country.

“With the three bills, those who incite religious and racial hatred can be charged with having committed a crime. At the same time, Article 8 of the Federal Constitution will be given a breath of fresh air.

“Also, it is hoped that all problems relating to race and religion can be tackled proactively to ensure it does not become rampant,” he said in proposing the motion at the Amanah national convention today.

Mujahid said the rights to free speech would be preserved as long as it was not used to cause havoc to national harmony and unity.

During the debate over the motion tabled by Mujahid, Titiwangsa Amanah delegate Ahmad Zamri Asa’ad Khuzaimi objected to the bills.

He asked if the bills were a knee-jerk solution, adding that at present, there were sufficient laws and regulations governing race relations in the country, and cited several provisions in the Penal Code.

“We are not lacking in laws and regulations, but lacking in enforcement and prosecution. We are also lacking in an independent judicial body,” he said, calling for a thorough study into the proposal.

Amanah’s youth wing deputy president Faiz Fadzil disagreed, saying that although there were provisions in the Penal Code, there needed to be a law that governs race relations.

He also stressed the need for a clear differentiation of the bills and the Sedition Act, so as to ensure the laws being proposed are not the same as the Sedition Act.

“The party’s youth wing fully supports this proposal. However, it needs to be fine-tuned so as to balance it with the rights to free speech,” he added.

A total of 31 motions were passed without debate, among which were motions to have party president Mohamad Sabu and Mujahid to contest the upcoming general election in Penang, as well as for jailed PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim to be the eighth prime minister.