G25 welcomes first members from Sabah and Sarawak

G25 welcomes first members from Sabah and Sarawak

PETALING JAYA - G25 has welcomed its first members from Sabah and Sarawak.

Datuk Amin Satem, former president of the Sarawak Chamber of Commerce and Industry and brother of Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem, Datuk Dr Johan Ariffin, former deputy director of Sabah Foundation and brother-in-law of Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, and Asgari Stephens, son of Sabah's first Chief Minister Tun Mohammad Fuad Stephens, are among the six newest recruits to the group of 25 eminent Malays, swelling its ranks to 42.

G25's open letter which appeared in The Star on Dec 8, calling for a review of syariah and civil law in line with the supremacy of the Constitution, has also drawn the support of Lt-Kol (R) Datuk Zarazilah Mohamad Ali, maternal uncle of the Perak Sultan, Datuk Dr Zakaria Ahmad, deputy vice-chancellor of HELP University, and mathematician Dr Abu Hassan Sulaiman.

In a telephone interview, Amin said: "I have always subscribed to the G25 cause and many in Sarawak think that way too. We have been alarmed by the growth of extremism in religion and race."

He hopes G25 can "influence our political leaders and indicate to them that in history, we have always been a multi-cultural society and progressing quite well.

"We want to impress upon the Prime Minister that we are supporting the 1Malaysia policy, and let's practise it."

The group has started a blog (g25malaysia.org) and Amin hopes its Internet presence "can encourage and educate" the younger generation.

"Many of the young think we are just retired people who live in a different environment," he said.

But you have to learn from history and the past."

Sabahan businessman Asgari joined G25 because he was "concerned about the way that Islamic law has been able to erode our rights in civil law under the Constitution".

He sees the group as "non-political, not an attack on the Government".

"It's a call to the Prime Minister and the public to be aware of their rights and to ensure they are protected," he said.

The Constitution, he added, is "a contract for us to work together. We need to ensure the rights and spirit within the Constitution are upheld and not overturned by stealth".

G25 is expecting more new members, including "one more prominent member from Sarawak," said spokesman Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin, adding that the group has also had inquiries about joining from many other prominent Muslims.

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