KUALA LUMPUR - Opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) warned on Monday (Feb 25) that it would convene a "monster" rally if the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government fails to take action against individuals who insult Islam.
The Islamist party information chief Nasrudin Hassan said the ruling government has been too lenient against those who insulted Islam, and cited the case of a Facebook user who was recently released from police custody after uploading a "rude caricature" of Prophet Muhammad and his wife Siti Aisyah.
"The Malaysian government has to be firm in its actions. 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 the religion to be bolder," he said in a statement.
"If there is no firm action (from the government), the people will rise and a Monster Rally will be held to pressure the government to take action."
Mr Nasrudin said this following a statement from Malaysia's police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun on Sunday that the Facebook user identified as Foo Sing Wai had been released last Friday.
"The 68-year-old suspect was arrested on Feb 19. However, due to his age and health complications, the suspect was released on Feb 22 on police bail," The Star quoted Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi as saying.
"The investigation paper has been forwarded to the Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) for further instruction," he added.
Mr Nasrudin on Monday questioned the ease with which the suspect was released, noting that many were stunned by the move, especially since there had been 395 police reports lodged against the person nationwide.
Moreover, the suspect was investigated under Section 298A of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
Section 298A refers to a clause which touches on religious disharmony, and those found guilty can be punished with a jail term of between two and five years.
Section 233 meanwhile, touches on improper use of network facilities, and those found guilty can be fined up to RM50,000 (S$16,585) or jailed up to a year, or both and a further fine of RM1,000 for every day the offence continues to be committed after conviction.
By contrast, Mr Nasrudin said a woman who insulted Prophet Muhammad last year was sentenced to six months' jail and a fine of RM15,000.
Based on the facts of the latest case, Mr Nasrudin said the suspect should not have been allowed bail in the first place.
"As such, PAS demands an explanation from the authorities to assuage the worries of Muslims," he said, adding that such "provocation cannot be forgiven".