Umno has split Muslim Malaysians by allowing PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang to table a motion to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 or Act 355, said former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“This (Hadi’s motion) has nothing to do with Islam. Islam does not ask us to do something that would split Muslims,” he told the media after attending a forum in Shah Alam last night.
“In a multiracial country, we must be sensitive to all religions as Islam respects other religions. We cannot force something on someone (as they will) fear Islam,” he said.
“This (Act 355) was merely used for political purpose; for the sake of one party,” he lamented.
On Thursday, Dewan Rakyat allowed Hadi’s motion on Act 355, which seeks to increase the cap on punishments meted out by the syariah courts, to be tabled in Parliament but deferred the debate to the next sitting, which will commence on July 24.
Pakatan Rakyat slammed the government for playing politics, while PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli said Prime Minister Najib Razak has run out of cards with regard to Act 355, thus he would call the general election before the next parliamentary sitting.
“I think Najib did not know what he is doing – he wants to get the support of PAS but in gaining PAS’ support, he loses the support of others. So, he is in dilemma,” said Mahathir.
“He does not see a way out. He could not table the motion himself, so he asked PAS to do it. He knew that PAS would not get anywhere even if it initiated the motion.”
Mahathir, who is also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chairperson, hopes Najib, who will lead BN in fighting the upcoming general election, will lose support from voters.
“I hope he lose all the votes as he lied about using religion to gain support, which he has failed,” he added.
End unilateral conversions
Meanwhile, Mahathir said he personally supported the government’s effort to amend the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 (LRA) to put a stop to unilateral conversions, despite his party having yet to make a stand on the matter.
He said this was because it wasn’t the intention of Islam and a government dominated by Muslims to compel people to do things against their wishes.
The government however on Wednesday retracted the bill which was tabled in Parliament in November 2016 for further refinement.
This bill drew scorn from several Muslim NGOs as well as Perak mufti Harussani Zakaria.
Harussani argued that the bill was unconstitutional and an insult to Islam. He claimed that the bill was against a fatwa in 2009 which stated that underaged children would automatically be a Muslim convert if either one of their parents embraced Islam.
Meanwhile, Mahathir also denied 500 members from Rembau Bersatu division have resigned following complaints that the party had lost direction.
“That was what he said. But only one has quit. We still have hundreds of thousands (members). We are not worried. If they want to quit, quit then,” he said.
It was reported last night that Bersatu activist Mohd Anas Sudin announced his exit from the party with 500 others and he was confident another 1,500 would follow his footsteps.