Muslims push tougher sharia law as Malaysian election issue, by Amanda Hodge.
Malaysia’s biggest Islamic party has warned its push for more powerful sharia courts and penalties will be a key general-election issue, and politicians who refuse to support the move face a similar fate to Jakarta’s ousted Christian governor.
With elections expected to be called as early as August, the proposed Sharia Act (355) is shaping up as a wedge issue that could determine the extent of opposition party co-operation against the ruling UMNO party, which has governed Malaysia since independence, and the political fortunes of its leader Najib Razak.
The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) is pushing for a nationwide extension of the sharia courts’ powers, and for an increase in the maximum penalties, raising fears of a growing climate of religious conservatism — just as the bruising Jakarta election has in Indonesia. …
In a 2014 survey by pollsters Merdeka Centre, 71 per cent of Malay-Muslims supported the bill’s push for harsher sharia penalties. Malay Muslims make up about 60 per cent of voters. Another 23 per cent are ethnic Chinese and 7 per cent Indian.
Australia might have two neighbors with Sharia law before too long.
hat-tip Stephen Neil