Sisters in Islam: Section 298 should be reviewed

PETALING JAYA: Sisters in Islam (SIS) is concerned about the recent case of a woman sentenced to a total of six months' jail and fined RM15,000 by the magistrate's court here after she was found guilty on three counts of insulting Prophet Muhammad under section 298 of the Penal Code.

In a statement today, SIS said Section 298 of the Penal Code states "deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person" has been used predominantly against non-Muslims and their actions that were "seen harmful against Islam".

"The term 'religious feelings' under the section should also then be applied to other faiths and religions such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism," they said.

Expressing their disappointment with the law that has been claimed to have been used arbitrarily against religious minorities, SIS has called for a review of the rule and whether such a provision is in the best interests of all Malaysians.

"What we need is an open environment for discussion and dialogue to overcome our ignorance, prejudice and misunderstanding about the religions that we practice here in Malaysia," they added.

Three days ago, magistrate Siti Hanum Mohmad Sah handed down the sentence on Tham Yut Mooi, 46, after finding that the defence had failed to raise reasonable doubts against the prosecution's case.

The court, however, allowed a stay of the sentence pending an appeal, and set bail at RM5,000 in one surety.