KUALA LUMPUR – Nearly all Muslim tertiary students polled by student group Gabungan Mahasiswa Islam Se-Malaysia (Gamis) said they support PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s Bill to upgrade the Shariah courts.
In the result of the perception poll published by Gamis last week, only 4 per cent of the 2,658 students polled said they do not support the Bill.
Of those polled, 89.8 per cent said they were aware of the Bill, but just roughly 78 per cent understood the content of the Bill that is due to be tabled again in March.
The number reason among those who dissented and disagreed with the Bill was that it is a petty issue that should not have been the public’s focus.
Two other reasons for disagreeing were the lack of details regarding content of the Bill, and the proposed amendment’s lack of benefit.
An overwhelming percentage of respondents, at around 97 per cent, also believed that the Bill required the support of all Muslims nationwide.
In comparison, just 62 respondents (2 per cent) opted for the other answer for that same question: that the Bill is a petty and unimportant issue.
Gamis said the survey had covered Muslim students across the country, including in East Malaysia, between October 2 and 23 last year.
Following the survey, Gamis said students had agreed that the Bill is needed to strengthen the Shariah courts as an effort that can purportedly reduce social ills among the society.
In 2014, a survey by independent pollster Merdeka Center had revealed that Malays in their 20s, with access to internet and alternative media, and earning more than RM5,000 a month are likely to support controversial hudud laws being implemented in Malaysia.
According to the survey results, 71 per cent of Malays polled said they supported hudud laws. But for Malays between 21 and 30 years of age, the proportion swelled to 83 per cent.
In November last year, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang read his motion for the amended version of his private member’s Bill to amend Act 355, but he deferred it to the next time Parliament convenes this year.
PAS and other Muslim groups such as Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma), the Muslim Lawyers Association of Malaysia (PPMM), Pertubuhan Pembela Islam coalition, and pro-ulama group Geng Ustaz will hold a rally next month in support of Hadi and his Bill.