National Harmony Bill that causes religious and racial hatred is a criminal offense

SHAH ALAM, 2 July: The National Unity Consultative Council (NUUC) denies that the National Harmony Bill draft, which is being proposed, is an agenda to put aside Malay Rights, the Rights of Malay Rulers and Islamic Rights.

Instead, with the Bill, all the foundations of this country will be more secure when religious and racial hatred is considered a crime.

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The Chairman for the Working Committee on Law and the National Unity Consultative Council Policy (NUCC), Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, said that the statement by the former Chief Justice, Tun Abdul Hamid Mohammed, did not refer to the contents of the Bill, but was more towards the emotive and prejudicial attitude towards the creation of the NUCC.

In a joint statement with his Deputy, Lim Chee Wee and his Committee, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said that it is unfair to say that the draft Bill is dominated by the opposition just because it is in reference to the dinner feast to celebrate the victory of the opposition in the past.

“The accusation saying that the Bill proposed is controlled by the opposition, and referring to the Bar Council in particular, is an attitude which is disappointing, especially from a former Chief Justice.

“The draft Bill, which is good for the people, is being associated with the opposition even though the Committee that drafted this Bill consist of members from various backgrounds mandated by the NUCC.

He said that the NUCC had a huge responsibility, and that his statement should be noted at this point, thus permitting the people to determine the future of this country.

“We advise him to take time to first read this draft and we recommend for his criticism and suggestions to be done constructively and substantively to improve the draft Bill,” he said.

He said that NUCC members are confident that the cabinet will ensure that the spirit of legislation will be highlighted and to make it an Act, despite being different from the draft Bill, through an extensive public consultation process so that the people see it as being transparent and accountable.

“We also recognise that ultimately, the Attorney General’s Office will advise the cabinet on the draft before being taken to Parliament for the reading and debate process,” he said.

Yesterday, the former Chief Justice said that he rejected the offer to be the Chairman of the NUCC because he was worried that he will be exploited by certain parties who are always looking for opportunities to strengthen their position and eradicate the rights of Malays and the position of Islam, as well as natives of Sabah and Sarawak.

He said that the decision was made prior to knowing the composition and names of NUCC members, which he claimed will be a means to support programmes by the opposition.

Elaborating, Mujahid said that NUCC members consist of members from Umno and Pakatan Rakyat, while the others are civil society members and activists in their respective fields, including the Bar Council.

“We work as a team with clearly defined goals and we are not interested in asking someone‚Äôs orientation, political support and debate on it during our meetings.

“We are being led by an experienced person, like the Chief Secretary to the Government, who previously held several highest positions in public service,” he said.

NS

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