AUG 4, 2002 SUN

KL to curb slander among Muslims

Tougher laws are in the offing to stop such remarks by PAS politicians against Umno leaders

PASIR PUTEH - The government will toughen laws to prevent Muslims from slandering each other after a spate of such remarks allegedly by Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) politicians against Umno leaders.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Abdul Hamid Zainal Abidin lashed out at PAS yesterday, urging the opposition party to stop making such remarks against the country's leadership as they would lead to the destruction of the ummah or the Muslim congregation.
'Those who take pleasure in indulging in such acts are courting trouble because it is a crime that could destroy the Muslim society in this country,' he said.
As Muslims, PAS leaders should not cast doubts about other Muslims by making disparaging remarks and defaming them, simply because they may have run out of issues to court public support with, he said.
PAS had resorted to such tactics to cover up its failure to promote true Islam, he charged.
Several police reports were lodged last week against a former PAS MP who alleged that Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad watched a pornographic video with his grandchildren.
Mr Bunyamin Yaakob allegedly made the statement during a ceramah or political gathering.
A video clip of the gathering was shown by Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) last week as part of the government's plan to publicly expose PAS leaders' weaknesses.
PAS MP for Kuala Kedah Mohamad Sabu was also criticised for using vulgarities on Umno leaders during political gatherings.
Datuk Abdul Hamid said the government would not allow such acts to be left unchecked.
The fall of Islamic leaders in the past, he said, was the result of Muslims being taken in by slanderous attacks made against the leaders by the enemies of Islam.
'Slander is contagious and for that reason it must not be allowed.'
Stricter laws could also act as a check on statements such as 'God is a gangster', he added, referring to PAS spiritual adviser Nik Aziz Nik Mat who had said that 'Allah is samseng', or a gangster. -- Bernama, New Straits Times