No plans for laws to deal with religious, racial hatred, says deputy minister

Deputy minister Hanipa Maidin.

KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy minister Hanipa Maidin says Putrajaya has no intention to enact specific laws to deal with religious and racial hatred or discrimination as proposed by the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) in 2004.

He said the government did not want to be labelled as a “legislative busybody”.

He quoted part of the US’ Declaration of Independence which touches on the abuses of King George III, including sending “swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance”.

“Similarly, as a new government we are not keen on over-regulating,” he told the Dewan Rakyat.

He was responding to Lim Lip Eng (PH-Kepong) who asked when the government would enact the Religious and Racial Hatred Act, Anti-Discrimination Act and Harmony and Peace Commission Act to curb the country’s religious and racial polemic.

Hanipa said the Cabinet had decided in January to strengthen existing laws in the Penal Code to address racial and religious hatred instead.

He said Putrajaya is also considering setting up a National Harmony and Reconciliation Commission.

He urged the public to refrain from mocking any religion.

“This includes politicians, especially from the other side, who like to instigate others,” he added.

When asked by Ahmad Maslan (BN-Pontian) if the government would “U-turn” on its promise to repeal the Sedition Act, in view of people insulting the royalty, the Malaysian flag, and Jawi, Hanipa said Putrajaya would not backtrack.

“If you (Ahmad) are used to making U-turns, do not ask others to make U-turns,” he said.