PETALING JAYA: The enactment of a bill to limit the propagation of non-Muslim religions is not new, according to religious affairs minister Idris Ahmad, who points out that similar laws exist in most states.
In a written parliamentary reply, Idris reiterated that the new law would not restrict freedom of religion among those of other faiths besides Islam, as enshrined under Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.
“This control bill aims to restrict the propagation of any doctrines or religious beliefs among Muslims. In this matter, laws like this are not new. It is already in place in most states.
“Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution also provides that federal laws can control or limit the propagation of any doctrines or religious beliefs among Muslims,” he said in reply to a question from Nik Abduh Nik Aziz (PAS-Bachok).
Idris said several elements needed to be considered in the bill to ensure it does not contravene the constitution, including the scope of powers provided by Article 11(4).
He said the act of “propagation” of doctrines or religious beliefs needed to be clearly defined to ensure the issue would not be disputed when the bill comes into effect.
The ministry also needed to consider the punishments under the law and which agencies would be tasked with enforcing it since offences under the bill would not be limited to Muslims only.
He said a civil and shariah law technical committee formed by the Conference of Rulers had been meeting throughout 2020 and 2021 over the matter. The bill would be presented to the respective states when the bill is finalised.-FMT