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MCA should have confronted PAS or have dialogue with PAS long ago. Don’t blame DAP when they are unhappy with PAS’ proposed law and policy. MCA should know how to handle its enemy!

“As long as PAS is willing to address concerns and questions, MCA is more than happy to extend an invitation for dialogue, says Ti Lian Ker.”

PETALING JAYA: MCA’s Ti Lian Ker says he is ready to engage Islamist party PAS in a forum on proposed shariah amendments, as long as it is constructive and held in a civilised manner.

He said if PAS was willing to engage and respond to questions and fears regarding the amendments to the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, MCA was “more than happy” to invite its leaders for a discussion.

“Not a problem, as long as it is not confrontational because we are here to exchange ideas and seek commonalities,” he told reporters at Wisma MCA today.

“But, we fear their enthusiasm in implementing (amendments to) that act. Maybe PAS means well, but our fears too are genuine.”

PAS is seeking to amend the act, allowing for stiffer punishments for shariah offenders, a move widely seen as setting the stage to usher hudud Islamic criminal punishment in Kelantan.

Ti, who is MCA Religious Harmony Bureau Chief, said everyone had reason to be fearful of the shariah amendments as the wielding of religion with power aroused a “fear factor” among the general public.

“When people use religion, there is a fear factor and people always take caution.”

He stressed that any normal person would be afraid of ascribed divine laws being implemented.

“Humans have flaws and these flaws may cause people to choose the easy way out, using divine authority to rule others. That is what we fear.”

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang has been pushing to increase the maximum punishment for shariah offences to 30 years’ jail, 100 lashes of the cane and RM100,000 for fines, through a private member’s bill tabled in the Dewan Rakyat last year.

Shariah punishment is currently capped at jail terms not exceeding three years, whipping of not more than six strokes of the cane and a maximum fine of RM5,000.

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