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THE submission of the private member’s bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 by Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang should not be a reason to cause disharmony among Muslims and non-Muslims.

Hadi acted in his capacity as member of parliament and wanted the bill to be debated in the august house. Does his action go against the Constitution? Even if Umno MPs were to support the bill, do their actions go against the democratic system?

Those who react negatively to the bill are undemocratic. It is disgraceful that some cabinet members have behaved childishly by threatening to quit their post if the bill is passed. If they think Parliament is no longer a reliable medium to protect the interests of Malaysians, then they should quit today, not later.

There are more important things that need to be protected so that we can build a strong nation together.

Like in a marriage, there must be the spirit of give-and-take. If there is a conflict and spouses take separate ways, the relationship will be strained and the marriage will dissolve. Can we afford to see our nation being destroyed by our folly?

We have not faced the “real” threats like the ones posed by the infidel Islamic State, have we?

It is important to look back at the history of our nation which started long before we achieved independence from the British.

For a century, Malacca progressed into a glorious, harmonious and civilised Islamic empire in the region that upheld the Islamic laws and exercised free trade with other parts of the world, namely China, India and Arab.

It was during the Western colonisation that the Muslims’ rights to uphold their religious duties were denied in their own land. It was during this period that it changed into a secular state.

At the onset of independence, our forefathers had agreed that Malaya would be made up of a multiethnic society with every citizen, regardless of religion and race, having the right to choose and shape the future of the nation through a democratic system.

Frustrating as it may seem, after almost 60 years of independence, selfishness and greed have overtaken some of us, threatening the trust and respect our forefathers had laid down for us.

Let’s do some self-reflection, stop the bickering and move on. Being a true Malaysian means living harmoniously together with respect, dignity and gratefulness.

ANITA MD SHARIFF, UiTM, Dungun

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