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Stiffer punishments mooted under Penal Code for insulting religion

Amendments to the Penal Code (Act 574) are being proposed to provide heavier penalties to those who insult religions, says Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa.

According to Mujahid, the proposed amendments have been agreed in essence, and are expected to be brought up in the cabinet meeting in the near future before being tabled at the Dewan Rakyat sitting next month.

The amendments to the act would see more severe penalties awaiting offenders, in addition to tightening several prosecution processes, including the standard operating procedures in court.

“We propose the amendments to be made as we feel that there is already such provision in the Penal Code, and we just want to tighten it with heavier penalties,” he told reporters at the Federal Territory Mosque today.

Mujahid said that the proposed amendments were not only related to Islam, but also covered other religions in the country.

“(The proposed amendment encompasses) issues such as causing hate among religions. Creating an issue to cause discord and anger between religions are also included in the context of religious hatred.

“That's why we see this (the proposed amendments) as offering a broader definition. 

"Of course, whoever insults the Prophet Muhammad will also be included in this specific clause to be created with set conditions that have yet to be determined,” he said.

'A dangerous game'

Earlier in his speech, Mujahid said the Pakatan Harapan government was highly committed to maintaining the glory of Islam and the unity of all religions in Malaysia as a whole.

“Do not mess with us. You can play politics by saying that we care less when comes to religion, you can politically say that you are the one who cares about religion, but you are playing a dangerous game here. 

"This is not about politics and parties, this issue is very dangerous as it involves the sentiment of the Muslims.

“That’s why I want to emphasise that we prioritise all issues, and the existing laws will be strengthened to prevent people from criticising Islam and other religions,” he said.

At the event, Mujahid also presented the letters of appointment to the committee members of 86 mosques and 109 surau in the Federal Territory for the 2018-2020 term.

- Bernama

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