Sabah Duo Take Pas Mp To Court Over Controversial Bible Remarks


Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh has refused to apologise over his statement in Parliament that the Bible was ‘distorted’.KOTA KINABALU: Two members of a Sabah political party are seeking an injunction to stop PAS’ Pasir Puteh MP Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh from making hurtful remarks against Christians in the country
Lawyer Marcel Jude and businesswoman Margaret Binsing, both of Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR), have also filed for “ blasphemous libel”. Jude is Tanjung Aru STAR division chief while Binsing is a member of the Tambunan division
According to court filings, Jude, who is a Catholic, and Binsing, who is a member of the Borneo Evangelical Church, are seeking an injunction against Zawawi to stop him from making defamatory, malicious, injurious and blasphemous remarks about their religion
They say the statements made by Zawawi are in breach and in contravention or an unlawful interference of their right to freedom of religion under Article 11 of the Federal Constitution, which the duo are seeking damages for
The duo filed the papers after Zawawi refused to apologise for his statement in Parliament that the Bible was “distorted”
A check with the e-filing system at the court revealed that the case has been set for mention on Oct 5
During a Dewan Rakyat debate on proposed higher penalties for drink driving last week, Zawawi said that biblical injunctions about drinking alcohol had been “distorted or altered”, leading to a rebuke from Christian associations and politicians
Breaking his silence on the matter yesterday, Zawawi said it was his “noble intention” to highlight that all religions forbade the consumption of alcohol and, therefore, he saw no need to apologise to Christians for his comments
Zawawi said it would be “a sin unto Christianity” to say that Christians were allowed to consume alcohol as it would lead to drunkenness
Jude and Binsing are claiming that ”blasphemous libel” occurs when there is anything published against God, Christ or the Christian religion in terms so “scurrilous, abusive or offensive as to outrage the feelings of any member of the Christian religion”
They claim that blasphemous libel originated from the laws of the UK and is incorporated in the common law of Sabah by reason of the provisions of the Civil Law Act 1966, Act 67
The duo stated that the suit is to safeguard the internal tranquility of Malaysia, adding that in a plural society, especially in multicultural, multireligious and multi-ethnic Sabah, it is necessary not only to respect differing religious beliefs but also to protect them from scurrility, vilification, ridicule and contempt
They add that the law does not interfere with the free expression of bona fide opinion but prohibits the use of coarse ridicule on subjects that are sacred to the people in the country, especially Sabah. - FMT

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