Proposed laws shouldn’t apply to east Malaysia

Datuk Snowdan Lawan

KUCHING: All Shariah laws should not be applicable to non-Muslims in Sarawak and Sabah, said Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) Youth chief Datuk Snowdan Lawan.

“If you are to draft, amend, and enforce any Shariah laws, do not forget to put a ‘Non-Applicable’ clause which means that the law is not meant for non-Muslims in Sarawak and Sabah,” he said in a statement on Friday (Sept 10).

He was responding to Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Ahmad Marzuk Shaary’s recent statement that four new Shariah laws were being drafted by the federal government, including a bill to control and restrict the development of non-Muslim religions.

“Certainly this type of statement is not welcome at all in a multi-religious, multi-racial, and multi-lingual society like Malaysia, especially in Sarawak where there are close to 30 ethnicities,” he said.

Snowdan, who is also Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports, said such statement would only create uneasiness and anxiety among the plural society. 

“You can draft, amend, or impose any law that you think is best and applicable only to those of your similar faith.

“Do not enforce it on other faiths more so to non-Muslims in Sarawak or wherever they are. It is simply not applicable to us.

“We want to be immune from your Shariah laws. Just impose it upon your own faith only,” he emphasised.

Snowdan pointed out that the Federal Constitution is clear on the freedom to practise one’s own religion.

He hoped that the federal government would not condone such ‘religious bigotry’.

“Religion touches families and society and their feeling should matter to us leaders and we should consider them. Moreover, one’s religion is not another’s business,” he said.