Anwar: Non-Muslims Have A Right To Debate Shariah Bill As It Will Inevitably Affect Them

He also said that MPs should have the right able to debate, amend, or reject the Bill.

Cover image via Free Malaysia Today

According to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, non-Muslims have a right to debate the proposed amendments to increase sentencing limits under the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 355

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang proposed to increase sentencing from the current three years in jail, RM5,000 fine, and six lashes to a maximum 30 years in jail, RM100,000 fine, and 100 lashes.

The PKR de facto leader told The Star Online in an exclusive interview that concerns by non-Muslims regarding the amendment should not be dismissed.

Speaking on advocates of the Bill, he said that, "They speak as if we are all in Islam and that's it; nobody else should bother."

Anwar reasoned that "Any legislation, though it seems to purely affect only Muslims, will inevitably affect non-Muslims"

"Therefore they have every right to participate," he said.

"We (PKR) are not liberals who refuse to apply Islamic tenets. We represent the Islamic conscience, but we do not represent this outmoded ultra-conservative Islam that wants to compel others to accept a particular interpretation," the politician explained in the interview with The Star Online.

Though Anwar revealed that PKR supported Hadi's proposed amendments, he stressed the importance of MPs being able to debate, amend, and if necessary, reject the Bill

Image via ISMA Web

"This is because what is presen­ted is not hudud and secondly, it is his (Hadi's) interpretation," he told The Star online.

In 2017, the Bill was allowed to go through and moved the Bill to the top of the order paper:

This came after the BN government decided not to table the Bill after promising to do so:

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