No need for segregation of Islam using legal means, says Saifuddin

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Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) chief Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (pic) said today that Islam is the official religion of the federation and there was no need for segregation using legal measures.

“I am concerned when it comes to attempts to define Islam in the constitution to being specific, like Sunni Islam. There is no need to use legal measures and no need to amend the Federal Constitution to specify the religion," said Saifuddin.

He was commenting on the Umno general assembly last week where a resolution was tabled to introduce a bill in the Dewan Rakyat to amend Article 3 of the Federal Constitution to acknowledge Sunni Islam as the only official religion of Malaysia.

"We don't have to do such a thing," Saifuddin said, in breaking ranks from his Umno comrades. "What is needed is engagement and consultation. That would be a better way."

Saiffuddin was talking to reporters after a discussion on human rights with Proham (Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia Proham)  and several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) today.

On the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), Saifuddin said the Malaysian government has done quite well through the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and and other policies, to a certain extent having addressed human rights issues.

However, he said that more needs to be done.

Saifuddin said that Malaysia is yet to ratify the six remaining major human rights international conventions, namely; the International Convention of Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, International Convention on the Protection of Rights of All Migrant Workers and  Members of Their Family, and the International Convention on The Protection of All Persons From Enforced Disappearance.

"We undertand that technical committees have been established in the last few years to look at the international conventions and we are hoping that we can see the results before 2018."

The third round of the UPR under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) is due in that year.

The UPR was established by the UN General Assembly on March 15, 2006. Its main objective is the improvement of the human rights situation in all the 193 member-states of the UN. It involves assessing states’ human rights records and addressing human rights violations wherever they occur.

Umno has declared war on Shia Muslims, gays, lesbians, trans-sexuals, liberals and those who have insulted Islam, saying the government should set up a commission to protect the country's official religion.

The country's largest party of Muslims tabled a resolution three days ago in its assembly to introduce a bill in the Dewan Rakyat to amend Article 3 of the Federal Constitution to only acknowledge Sunni Islam as the official religion of Malaysia.

Umno also wants the government to set up a Commission, along the lines of the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), to preserve the supremacy of Islam by going after those it considers anti-Islam, including those on the Internet and social media. - December 9, 2013.

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