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Group Protests Against Hadi’s Bill Near Parliament

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KUALA LUMPUR: A small group of “concerned citizens” gathered in front of Parliament here on Monday to protest against PAS’ Private Member’s Bill which seeks to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355).

The group was led by lawyer and activist Siti Kasim who said they wanted to send a message that they were not “duped” by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.

“In fact we want to send that message to any politician who uses religion to gain votes and support,” she said.

Siti added that she and her fellow protesters had gathered to ‘strengthen’ Islam.

“We don’t want to destroy Islam. We want to show that Islam is beautiful. It’s not all about punishment. It’s about education and fairness. So let us open this up for discussion,” she said.

The Private Mem­ber’s Bill was aimed at replacing Section 2 of the Syariah Courts Act (Criminal Jurisdiction) 1965 (Act 355) to empower the Syariah Court to take action against Muslims who committed offences listed under Sche­dule Nine of the Federal Constitution.

The proposed Section 2A empowers Syariah Court to impose heavier sentences except death penalty.

According to Siti, no country has seen success with such an amendment.

“If at least one country has had success, we can accept it, but no. In fact these countries only got worse. Do we want that for Malaysia?” she said.

Siti said the group would be gathering again later to send a memorandum against the Bill.

“This is just a ‘teaser’. Stay tuned, because we will come back bigger,” said Siti.

During the Parliament session in May, Abdul Hadi tabled his Private Member’s Bill but the Marang MP had requested for it to be debated in the next session.

Currently, the Syariah Court can only impose sentencea not exceeding three years, and fines not exceeding RM5,000.

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