By Bob Tan
24 July 2018 21:05
Article 3 of our federal constitution under Religion of the Federation states:
“Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.”
In accordance to this, the government plans to enact three new bills Anti-Discrimination Act, National Harmony and Reconciliation Commission Act and the Religious and Racial Hatred Act. According to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of religious affair Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, the new Religious and Racial Hatred Act will not only deal with incidence when Islam is insulted but also when non-Muslim faith are insulted.
“Under the proposed Acts, legal action can be taken against both Muslim and Non-Muslim citizens who fanned hatred or insults towards other races or religions.” the NST had reported him saying.
For now, the bills will only be tabled and discussed further in the next session of Parliament. These bills cannot be tabled without the approval of the Attorney General and the Cabinet, furthermore panels made with various experts in religion, academics and legal matters will be invited to refine the three bills.
News of this came a day after the Prime Minister announced the plans abolishment of Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA). However, UMNO president, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has some concerns over the abolishment of SOSMA.
“UMNO fears that there are those who are waiting for this opportunity to spread sedition and propaganda among the people. The possible outcome is frightening, and the people will no longer feel safe in such a situation”, he said in a statement.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Mohamed Hanipa Maidin has issued a challenge to Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to a debate about the governments plan to abolish SOSMA. The said debate could be telecast live to allow those who want to know more about the issue as well as clearing any confusion which Zahid Hamidi might have caused by claiming the country still needs SOSMA.