JAN 3 — We will propose to amend the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988 in the next state assembly sitting to ensure that Muslims continue to be protected from propagation, while ensuring that the rights of non-Muslims are protected as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
We were shocked by the unprecedented Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (JAIS) action yesterday, raiding the Bible Society of Malaysia for bibles containing the words “Allah”. JAIS has acted in the name of enforcing the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988, which was passed under the Barisan Nasional regime.
Firstly, we would like to remind JAIS that Selangor Non-Islamic Religions Enactment 1988 only applies to control and restrict the propagation of non-Islamic religious doctrines and beliefs among the Muslims. It shall in no way be used to restrict anyone from practicing and professing their own religions in their preferred language.
JAIS reckless action serves as a wake up call for us to seek a review of subsection 9 of Selangor Non-Islamic Religions Enactment 1988, which states that a person commits an offence if he (a) in any published writing; or (b) in any public speech or statement; or (c) in any speech or statement address to any gatherings or persons; or (d) in any speech or statement which is published or broadcast and which at the time of its making he knew or ought reasonably to have known would be published or broadcast, uses the word “Allah” or 34 other Arabic words including Hadith, Syariah, Kalifah, Fatwa, Alhamdulillah, Insyaallah etc to express and or describe any fact, belief, idea, concept, act, activity, matter or thing of or pertaining to any non-Islamic religion.
This section clearly contradicts Article 11 (1) & Article 11 (3) of the Federal Constitution, which provide every Malaysian the right to profess, practice and manage his or her own religion. As such this section should be amended to ensure that extreme groups will not act against persons of other faiths at their own convenience. The enactment must be consistent with the Federal Constitution which states under Article 11(4) that “State law and in respect of the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan, federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam”, but does not allow for curtailing the rights of non-Muslims in the manner which they practice their own faith.
We seek the support of all Selangor lawmakers to vote for an amendment to the Selangor Non- Islamic Religions Enactment 1988 in the spirit of the Federal Constitution to ensure that the rights of all Malaysians are given equal protection under the law, as conceived by our forefathers.
We must not let the extremists in our midst to dictate the state and national agenda to the extent that the minorities are victimised unjustly. Let us take a bold step of change and lead Malaysia towards a bright future – a Malaysia for all Malaysians, based on the principle of equality, human rights and justice.
* Yeo Bee Yin, Rajiv Rishyakaran, and Lau Weng San are respectively the members of the Selangor State Assembly for Damansara Utama, Bukit Gasing and Kampung Tunku.
** This is the personal opinion of the writers and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malay Mail Online.