Association sends objection on proposed bill to PM


KUCHING: Sarawak Patriots Association (SPA) has written to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to register their disappointment on a proposed bill to control and restrict the development of non-Muslim religions.

SPA chairman Datuk Dr Lau Pang Heng noted that the proposal was recently announced by Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Ahmad Marzuk Shaary.

“SPA expresses strong views and objections to the intention,” said Lau in a statement on Friday (Sept 10).

He said, firstly, it was against the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report 1962 Malaysia Bill (Act), Annex A to Malaysia Agreement 1963, and the Federal Constitution under Clause 15 of the IGC Report 1962.

“Under the reading of religion, Clause 15(2) states clearly the guarantee for religious freedom contained in Article 11 should be retained,” he said.

Secondly, he said the guarantee for religious freedom was contained in Article 11 of the Federal Constitution which states: ‘Every person has the right to profess and practise his religion and, subject to Clause (4), to propagate it.’

Thirdly, he pointed out that under Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution, it states that ‘Islam is the religion of the Federation but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation’.

He said that in the IGC Report 1962 which was presented before Sarawak, North Borneo, Singapore, and Malaya came together as partners to form Malaysia, it was guaranteed that religious freedom contained in Article 11 shall be retained.

“Therefore, any attempt to legislate a new federal law to control and restrict the propagation of any religion is unconstitutional.

“Unfortunately, a deputy minister chose to divert the attention away from the current Covid-19 pandemic and deteriorating economy in Malaysia,” said Lau.

On behalf of SPA, he urged the federal government to focus completely on managing the pandemic and resuscitating the economy.

“More and more people and businesses are suffering every day. There must not be any distraction from overcoming this challenge,” he stressed.

// Ends with pics.

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