SHAH ALAM – Islamist party PAS confirmed today that its mega rally in support of president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s Shariah Bill will be held in Dataran Merdeka on February 18.
The organisers said in a statement that their target for attendance is “as many as possible”, but PAS deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said it predicted 300,000 attendance in purple, the official colour for the rally.
The rally, called “Himpunan 355”, is expected to last between 3 pm and 11 pm but the organisers have yet to specify how they plan to fill up the eight hours.
Organisers said the goal of the rally is to increase awareness among Malaysians to support the upgrade of Shariah courts and the implementation of Shariah laws, which they said is guaranteed under the Federal Constitution.
“This rally can help to dispel any negative perception and doubts by the public,” Tuan Ibrahim, who is also the event chairman, said in a press conference today.
Other co-organisers of the rally include strident Muslim groups such as Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma), the Muslim Lawyers Association of Malaysia (PPMM), Pertubuhan Pembela Islam coalition, and PAS-affiliated pro-ulama group Geng Ustaz.
He also said that invitations has been extended to all political parties including DAP, Parti Amanah Negara and Barisan Nasional parties, saying the rally transcends political boundaries and focuses on religion instead.
“We have sent invites to everyone. We involve all parties that love Act 355 without considering political parties, religion or race,” Tuan Ibrahim said.
Act 355 refers to Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, which Hadi’s Bill seeks to amend.
PAS has also applied for permit from the police to allow them to gather at Dataran Merdeka but already have an alternative location in mind if the application is not allowed, Tuan Ibrahim explained.
Malay Mail Online is currently contacting the police and the Kuala Lumpur City Hall for their response on the planned rally.
PPMM president Datuk Zainul Rijal meanwhile urged all Muslim lawyers to join the rally. “We feel that that was is being fought for by Act 355 is not against the
Federal Constitution and we give our 100 per cent guarantee that we would ensure every bit of this effort follows that,” he said.
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 in a bid to expand the punitive powers of the Shariah courts, but he deferred it to the next time Parliament convenes in 2017.
– Malay Mail