KUALA LUMPUR • Opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) has warned that it will organise a "monster" rally if the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government fails to take action against individuals who have insulted Islam.
The Islamist party's information chief, Mr Nasrudin Hassan, claimed yesterday that the government has been too lenient towards those who have 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," Mr Nasrudin said.
"If there is no firm action, 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 Malaysian police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun on Sunday that the Facebook user identified as Foo Sing Wai was released on Feb 22.
"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 Fuzi as saying.
"The investigation paper has been forwarded to the deputy public prosecutor for further instruction," he said.
FIRM ACTION NEEDED
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.
OPPOSITION PARTI ISLAM SEMALAYSIA INFORMATION CHIEF NASRUDIN HASSAN
The sensitive issue of Islam is at the heart of an ongoing battle pitting the PH government against Malay-Muslim opposition parties PAS and Umno as both sides try to gain the support of the majority Malay electorate. The opposition has been painting PH as being weak to defend Malay and Muslim rights.
Mr Nasrudin said many people were stunned by the suspect's release especially since there have been 395 police reports lodged against Foo nationwide.
Moreover, the suspect was investigated under Section 298A of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
Under Section 298A, those found guilty of fostering religious disharmony can be punished with a jail term of between two and five years.
Under Section 233, those found guilty of improper use of network facilities can be fined up to RM50,000 (S$16,590), jailed for up to a year, or both, and incur a further fine of RM1,000 for every day the offence continues to be committed after conviction.
Mr Nasrudin said a woman who insulted Prophet Muhammad last year was jailed for six months and fined RM15,000. He said the suspect in the current case should not be allowed bail in the first place.
"PAS demands an explanation from the authorities to assuage the worries of Muslims," he said, adding that such "provocation cannot be forgiven".