KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 — Political leaders who insult Islam will never be elected, PAS asserted today, with a nod to neighbouring Indonesia where Jakarta’s Christian and ethnic Chinese governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama — better known as Ahok — lost his post in a religiously-charged poll this week.
The Islamist Opposition party claimed that similar to Indonesia, Malaysia’s Muslim voters will rise to reject anyone who demeans their religion, amid fierce debates over its party president’s private motion seeking harsher Shariah offences by amending Act 355, and another Bill to amend Act 164 that would ban unilateral child conversion.
“This success clearly shows a signal of Islam’s uprising there. When you insult Islam, don’t think Muslims will not act by rejecting you as a leader. The Jakarta election has proven it,” PAS information chief Nasrudin Hassan said in a statement.
“Now, the same spirit is spreading among Muslims in Malaysia. The issue of amending Act 355 and Act 164 will open the eyes of citizens here to see who are foes and friends when it comes to fighting for Islam.
“The same uprising is flourishing for the next general elections,” the Temerloh MP added.
Act 355 is formally known as the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, while Act 164 refers to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act.
On Wednesday, the Jakarta gubernatorial elections was won by Ahok’s Muslim challenger Anies Baswedan, who was accused of pandering to Muslim hardliners to win votes, with 58 per cent of the votes.
The controversy surrounding Ahok had begun in September last year when he caused outrage among Muslims for quoting a controversial verse from the Quran ahead of the elections, insinuating that his opponents were using Islamic scriptures to urge the public against voting him.
An edited version of his speech went viral and sparked outrage even beyond Jakarta, resulting in several mega rallies by Muslim hardliners in the Indonesian capital.
After the rally in Jakarta, PAS had also organised a mega rally in Kuala Lumpur in February called Himpunan 355, in support of its president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and his private member’s Bill to amend Act 355.
Ahok has since apologised but his remarks were still considered blasphemous, and he was later charged, resulting in a court case that dragged on for months and affected his campaign.