KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 — PAS today demanded the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government step up its pace to rein in provocateurs against Islam if it does not want another “monster” rally of the ummah on its hands.
The Opposition party’s information chief Nasrudin Hassan accused the government of being too easy-going against people who have insulted the religion of the majority, citing the case of a Facebook user who was released from police custody after three days despite posting a “rude caricature” of Prophet Muhammad and the latter’s wife.
“Take care of Islamic sensitivities and that of its adherents. If the government is lazy and slow to act, it will cause those who insult this religion to grow bolder.
“If there is no firm action, the people will rise and a Monster Rally will be held to pressure the government to act,” he said in a Facebook post.
Nasrudin said his party was stunned that the police would release the owner of the Facebook account Foo Sing Wai whom he claimed to be a Chinese over the rude act against Islam.
He said the action raised questions among Muslims on the supposed ease at which the person was let go despite the 395 police complaints filed nationwide against the “suspect” and investigations under Section 298A of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
Section 298A which criminalises religious disharmony punishes those found guilty with a jail sentence of no less than two years but not more than five.
Those convicted under Section 233 which concerns improper use of network facilities can be fined up to RM50,000 or jail up to a year, or both and a further fine of RM1,000 for every day the offence continues to be committed after conviction.
Nasrudin contrasted the latest treatment to another similar case last year where a woman who insulted Prophet Muhammad was investigated and sentenced to six months’ jail and fined RM15,000 under Section 298 of the Penal Code.
Section 298 is a slightly different provision and prescribes a maximum jail term of one year or a fine or both for those convicted of deliberately uttering or making a gesture to wound the religious feelings of another.
Nasrudin claimed that the rude individual who was arrested in the latest incident does not qualify for release from police custody based on the facts of the case.
“As such, PAS demands an explanation from the authorities to assuage the anxieties of Muslims,” he said.
He said such provocative caricatures against Prophet Muhammad and his wife “cannot be forgiven”.
PAS and its new political ally Umno had jointly organised a mammoth rally in the capital city last December 8 to denounce the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, claiming the United Nations treaty to be unconstitutional and against Islam.