PETALING JAYA: An incensed Siti Kasim has hit back at PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang for his demeaning remarks about Muslims who chose to give his pro-shariah rally the miss last weekend.
Speaking to FMT, the outspoken activist and lawyer said Hadi had no right to chastise Muslims who had refrained from participating in the PAS Himpunan 355 rally last Saturday.
“How can he speak in such a tone of the people who didn’t turn up for his rally? We could have done the same to those who didn’t turn up for our counter rally. But we didn’t.
“The bottom line is, he has no right to speak on behalf of anyone. This goes to show the arrogance of Hadi. Who is he to label Muslims who didn’t turn up as ‘lost sheep’?”
Yesterday, Hadi declared PAS’ pro-shariah rally a success while calling those who failed to attend “sheep separated from their flock, only to fall prey to wild wolves”.
Siti said while Muslims against the proposal to strengthen the shariah courts have backed their arguments with facts, Hadi had never offered the public an adequate justification for his private member’s bill.
“What about Hadi and gang? He hasn’t come up with any explanation for his bill. If this is for Islam, then tell us how and do it in detail.
“Until today, Hadi has never given proper justification except to say that the bill is aimed at strengthening shariah courts. And that’s rubbish.
“These people have never come up with a feasible argument except to diss all those who are against them in their forums.”
Spokesperson for the “Malaysians Reject Hadi’s Bill” counter rally, Azrul Mohd Khalid, said it was a “pity” that Hadi saw those who had contrary views as “lost”.
“Despite the Quranic verse which states very clearly that ‘there is no compulsion in religion’, he prefers blind obedience and unquestioning compliance with what he determines as Islamic.
“Is that how he views the people in purple who gathered at Padang Merbok on Saturday? They are sheep? Animals needing to be herded in the right direction?”
Azrul said Hadi’s argument that his private member’s bill was to “strengthen the dignity of the shariah system” was a dubious one.
“What does that mean? What problem is he trying to solve with extremely harsh and cruel punishments?”
Azrul pointed out that Hadi had not cited research or studies to support his notion that harsher punishment led to deterrence and reduced shariah offences.
“Any proposed reforms must be done through evidence-based policy-making, not mere rhetorics.
“We ask those who are considering supporting or rejecting Hadi’s bill to not be his ‘sheep’, but to use reason and compassion rather than be swayed by political rhetoric and dogma.”
The pro-shariah rally drew massive support from Malaysians across the country. Police estimated the crowd at 20,000, but PAS claimed 300,000 had showed up in support of the proposed bill to strengthen shariah courts.
The counter rally, organised by a group called Bebas, on the same day in Taman Jaya here, drew fewer than 200 participants.
The bill, which may be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat again next month, seeks to increase the shariah courts’ punitive powers
Hadi’s bill seeks to raise the maximum penalties for shariah offences to 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 strokes of the rotan.
Currently, the shariah courts may impose sentences not exceeding three years’ jail, RM5,000 fine and six strokes of the rotan.
Non-Muslims fear Hadi’s amended version to enhance shariah punishments would allow for the implementation of hudud through the back door in Kelantan and Terengganu. – FMT