KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 4 — Authorities must be receptive to all views on the formation of laws including those on Islam, said the G25 civil society group.
The group noted that there was noteworthy controversy over the attempt to expand the powers of the Shariah courts, and urged Putrajaya to heed concerns over the ramifications increasing the coverage of Islamic laws and scope of their punishments.
Saying Malaysia was “basically secular” according to the language of the Federal Constitution, it expressed concerns regarding the harm to racial and religious harmony that could be brought about by such legislation.
“We hold the view that any laws made by parliament or the state legislatures whether on civil or religious matters are public policies and as such, all citizens have the right to express their views, as long as they do so within the law,” it said in a statement.
“This is a fundamental right in all constitutional democracies which must be upheld to enable the voice of the people to be heard locally and internationally.”
PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has proposed a private Bill to increase Shariah punishment caps to a maximum 30 years’ imprisonment, RM100,000 fine and 100 lashes of the cane.
Putrajaya has said that it will eventually adopt the Bill.
The G25 professes to be an advocate for moderation in Islam and good governance. The group was formed in late 2014 to press the government to contain the encroachment of religion into the country's laws and administration.