KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah legislative assembly today passed a bill outlawing deviant interpretations of Islam in the state to ensure the teachings of the religion are “pure”.
Law and Native Affairs Minister Aidi Mokhtar tabled the bill, which sought to amend Section 52 of the Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment 1995 to provide definitions of “religion of Islam” and “Ahli Sunnah Waljama’ah”.
According to the bill, the amendment is to strengthen Section 52 to make whipping one of the penalties for the teaching of any doctrine or the performance of any ceremony or act relating to Islam that is contrary to Islamic law or any fatwa enforced in Sabah.
A new section, 52A, deals with the prohibition to propagate religious doctrine other than that of Islam recognised by Sabah. Those found guilty are liable to a RM3,000 fine and/or two years’ imprisonment.
Aidi pointed out the state did not want any deviant teachings or interpretations that could disrupt the unity of the people.
He told the house that based on recent developments, some Muslims had quarrelled on issues pertaining to the teachings and branches of the religion that subsequently threatened the unity of the faithful.
He said Islam is a religion that unites the people and shuns any division or fights, adding that any thinking, action or practice that causes division among the people must be avoided.
“The existence of deviant teachings, particularly those that are extreme, does not only bring a negative impact on the safety of Muslims but also other residents regardless of race and religion,” he said.
Aidi said three of the 11 outlawed teachings in the country originated from Sabah or that the founder had come from the state – Pertubuhan Rahmatan Lil ‘Alamin (Perahmat), Tariqah Hasaniah and Islam Jama’ah.
Another three of the banned teachings – Millah Abraham @ Ibrahim, Fahaman and Hizbut Tahrir, and Syiah – had extremism roots that could resort to launching wars on leaders and governments who do not believe in their teachings.
Ariffin Arif (PPBM-Membakut) welcomed the amendment, saying it was important to preserve peace and harmony.
Ariffin, who was the minister in charge of religious affairs in the previous administration, said that a fatwa had banned 25 deviant teachings discovered in the state.