KUCHING, July 17 — A Sarawakian activist has questioned the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ (AGC) decision not to charge Islamic preacher, Syakir Nasoha, for his allegedly disparaging remarks about other religions.
Peter John Jaban, a Global Human Rights Federation (GHRF) vice secretary, claimed that the decision exposes double standards in the system, citing the case of Siti Nuramira Abdullah who was charged in court for her stunt in a comedy club in Kuala Lumpur where she allegedly removed her headscarf and baju kurung.
He said that while Siti Nuramira was charged under Section 298A of the Penal Code for causing disharmony, disunity or enmity, hatred or ill will on the grounds of religion, the AGC had decided that ‘no further action’ (NFA) will be taken against Syakir.
Peter said he was stunned when the investigation against Syakir found that he did not touch on religious sensitivity in the country.
“The authorities claimed that they watched the full video which is nearly one hour 30 minutes (where Syakir had allegedly insulted other religions) and said they did not find any wrongdoing and classified the case as NFA.
“On October 3, some 3,000 reports were lodged nationwide against the preacher after a video showing him making comments against other religions and the Dayak community went viral in Borneo states and in Kalimantan, Indonesia,” he said.
Syakir was investigated under Section 505(c) of the Penal Code for making statements conducive to public mischief with intent to incite the community to cause them to commit an office against other communities, and Section 233 of the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998 for abuse of network services.
According to news reports, the AGC had decided not to charge Syakir as the video about him, which went viral in October last year, was taken out of context and did not touch on religious sensitivity in the country.
Asserting that the preacher’s remarks had created anger among the Dayaks, Peter said the Syakir should be charged under the Sedition Act or Section 298A(1) of the Penal Code for “spreading words that cause disharmony, disunity, or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill will, or prejudicing, the maintenance of harmony or unity, on grounds of religion”, which provides an imprisonment of up to five years, if found guilty.
Peter said it was disappointing that controversial preachers like Syakir and others in the country were allowed to do as they wished.
“Others (preachers) will also think they are untouchable, and they will think that they can keep repeating this and they will not be charged for sensitive comments aimed against minorities, including the Orang Asal of this country,” he said. — Borneo Post