By THE BORNEOTODAY TEAM
PENAMPANG: A referendum should be carried out for Muslims to ascertain if they are really in favour of the proposed amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, commonly referred to as RUU355 (Act 355).
MCA Sabah deputy chief, Datuk Francis Goh asserted that this is only fair and appropriate to both the Muslim and the non-Muslim communities in the country, in line with the teaching and advocating of “justice and fairness for all” in Islam.
Rather than allow a handful of people to decide on such a monumental issue based on logic, or worse still, when driven by some selfish agenda, a referendum would be the best way to put the issue to the people, he said in a statement Saturday.
Religious fanaticism, he said, must not be allowed to rear its ugly head (in Malaysia) without any resistance as it might lead to the birth of fanatic groups like the Islamic State (ISIS) and the like.
“I‘m not only looking at the issue from the perspective of the Chinese and the non-Muslim native communities, but I’m also voicing out for our Malay friends who oppose it, but dare not to speak up, for fear of being branded an infidel,” he said.
“Unlike our neighbour Indonesia, despite being the country with the largest Muslim population, every Indonesian citizen is free to choose their own religion.”
Francis also concurred with outspoken lawyer-activist Siti Kasim that the Malays are currently the most oppressed group in Malaysia and if the PAS’ proposed Act 355 was implemented, the situation will only get worse.
While speaking at a recent campaign against Act 355, Siti said she wanted to “opt out” of the proposed Act as she felt that Muslims in this country should be allowed to decide if they want to be subjected to the proposed amendments, should these amendments come into force.
Goh who is also the Penampang MCA chief said MCA strongly opposed to Act 355 which was proposed by PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang. He also believed Act 355 is actually a legislation to allow Hudud to be implemented through the back door.
“I opined that for a greater Malaysia in line with the “1 Malaysia spirit”, the Malay-dominant party should leave religion and race out of politics. Only then we can progress and excel as one nation, in the right direction,” said Goh.
He also concurred with the views expressed by retired Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof who at a recent talk, commented that though the amendment put before Parliament in November are constitutional – nonetheless he has reservations about them because he fears abuse.
Goh aso echoed the views expressed by Professor Azmi Sharom, University Malaya law lecturer, that the new punishments in the proposed Act 355 are ridiculous and inhumane.
He also finds arguments by hudud proponents that such laws will not affect non-Muslims, as unbelievable.
He cited for example, if the victim in a rape case is a non-Muslim and the rapist is a Muslim, which set of laws would be applied? Vice-versa, if the rapist is a Chinese and the victim a Muslim, will there be justice?