Malaysia

Sarawak lawmakers join forces against Isma’s extremism

In a rare show of unity, opposing lawmakers in Sarawak have teamed up against rising extremism and religious bigotry, in an apparent reference to Muslim rights group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) which has of late been making provocative comments against non-Muslims in Malaysia.

Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing (pic) has labelled Isma president Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman “arrogant” for making inflammatory statements that hudud, or the Islamic penal code, should be imposed on non-Muslims as well.

“Isma consists of people who don't understand the social and religious fabric of Malaysia, especially in Sarawak and hence, they tend to make silly mistakes and make ridiculous pronouncements on Islam.

“It’s not good for Islam nor does Isma reflect the true picture of the majority of Muslims in Malaysia,” Masing told The Malaysian Insider in the state capital, Kuching.

He said since Malaysia is a multi-religious and multi-racial country, it is arrogant of Abdullah to assume that hudud could be implemented in the country of 30 million people.

Masing said with such extremists coming onto the scene, “(the people in) Sarawak must stand together on this issue”.

PKR Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How agreed, but said Abdullah was part of a plot by Putrajaya to divert people's attention from issues blighting the government.

“I suspect such characters are unleashed to divert the attention of the rakyat from pressing issues affecting them like the effects of the goods and services tax (GST) and the injustice carried out against opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim,” he said.

Abdullah Zaik had said yesterday that hudud ‎should be carried out for the country's well-being, as criminals would then be fearful of committing crimes.

The controversial Egypt-trained scholar added hudud for all Malaysians would be in the “national interest and to safeguard the public".

See said his suspicion was strengthened by the silence of the top leaders of the government, including the prime minister, over such seditious comments.

He also said the comments were provoking the people and dividing the nation.

The only Umno member to condemn the Isma president has been former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who had said yesterday that the comments were not constructive for the country.

"He should keep the comments to himself. They are not doing any good to this country," Dr Mahathir had said in Kuala Lumpur.

BN’s Nangka assemblyman Annuar Rapa'ee dismissed Abdullah Zaik's remarks.

“It's irrelevant (to talk about hudud). Its not even implemented yet.”

Demak Laut assemblyman Dr Hazland Abang Hipni, touching on hudud in his debate in the state assembly yesterday, condemned all forms of religious extremism.

He said that was why Sarawak now bars the entry of religious bigots into the state. The country's largest state by area have barred the likes of Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali from entering the state. – May 10, 2014.

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