January 22, 2015
Court: Islam subject to fundamental liberties Malaysiakini 22 Jan 2015
Although Islam is the religion of the federation in Malaysia, as defined under Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution, it is subject to the limitations of the fundamental liberties of a person, the Court of Appeal ruled today. In his 46-page written judgment on a case involving transgenders, Justice Mohd Hishamudin Yunus noted that Article 4(1) of the Federal Constitution declares the constitution as the supreme law and any law running contrary to the constitution shall be considered void…In this case, the judge said the word Islam in Article 3(1) should be given a restrictive meaning based on Article 3(4), which states that nothing in this Article derogates from any other provision of the constitution…Although the enactment [Section 66 of the Syariah Criminal (Negri Sembilan) Enactment 1992 ] is subject to syariah law, Justice Hishamuddin said interpretation of the Federal Constitution is a matter for the court, not for the syariah court. This is also in keeping with the Federal Court decision in Latifah Mat Zin vs Rosemawati Sharibun and another…“Their application involves the interpretation of the constitution; and that only the superior civil courts established under the Federal Constitution have the jurisdiction to determine disputes on the interpretation of the provisions therein (in the Federal Constitution). Read the rest of this entry »
December 8, 2014
I salute moderate Muslims who voice their deep dismay over Islamic religious bodies asserting their authority beyond the jurisdiction laid down by the Federal Constitution.
The call for rational discourse and open debate goes beyond the Muslim community as the statement recognizes “a real need for a consultative process that will bring together experts in various fields, including Islamic and Constitutional laws, and those affected by the application of Islamic laws in adverse ways [emphasis added].” Indeed, non-Muslims are grievously affected when Shariah authorities impose policies that violate their fundamental liberties in the name of supremacy of Islam.
All concerned Malaysians should voice their support for this call for moderation and dialogue. Let’s remember, “all tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent,” and “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” [Edmund Burke]
Champion open debate and discourse on Islamic law — 25 prominent Malays The Malay Mail Online 8 Dec 2014
DECEMBER 8 — We, a group of concerned citizens of Malaysia, would like to express how disturbed and deeply dismayed we are over the continuing unresolved disputes on the position and application of Islamic laws in this country. The on-going debate over these matters display a lack of clarity and understanding on the place of Islam within our constitutional democracy. Moreover, they reflect a serious breakdown of federal-state division of powers, both in the areas of civil and criminal jurisdictions. Read the rest of this entry »
November 13, 2014
Precis – In a nutshell, the constitutional position is that it is not enough for public authorities, whether civil or ecclesiastical, to have noble intentions. It is not enough for them to act in the name of God or religion. They must also stay within the substantive limits of their powers and observe all procedural requirements.
In a country with a supreme constitution, there is the additional requirement that the law under which their action was taken must not be in violation of the supreme Constitution, specifically of the provisions on fundamental rights, federal-state division of powers and legislative procedures.
The Constitution includes many fundamental rights in Articles 5-13.
Though Islam has the exalted position of being the religion of the federation, Article 3(4) says, “Nothing in this Article derogates from any other provision of this Constitution”. This means that Article 3(1) does not override any other provision of the Constitution. The decision in Che Omar Che Soh (1988) followed this provision: the Constitution, and not the syariah, is the litmus test of constitutionality. Read the rest of this entry »
August 14, 2014
SIDANG INJIL BORNEO (SIB) SABAH PRESS RELEASE 14 Aug 2014
BUMIPUTERA CHRISTIANS WELCOME ARCHBISHOP’S PUSH FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
We fully support the call for freedom of religion by Sabah Catholic Archbishop John Wong and for the authorities to respect our rights to practise our faith as guaranteed by the constitution.
The Archbishop made this call at the mamangkis gathering organised by the Perpaduan Anak Negeri (PAN) Sabah – the Native Solidarity of Sabah – in Papar last Saturday (9 August 2014).
As highlighted by Archbishop Wong, we call on JPN (National Registration Department) to immediately rectify the wrong classification of Bumiputera Christians in Sabah as Muslims just because they have ‘bin’ and ‘binti’ in their names. The JPN must desist from this Islamisation drive through changing the religious status in the MyKad of these Christians. Read the rest of this entry »
June 21, 2014
Bar Council Malaysia
MAIS and JAIS Should Adhere to the Attorney General’s Decision and Abide by the Federal Constitution
The Malaysian Bar supports the Attorney General’s decision not to prosecute the Bible Society of Malaysia (“BSM”) over the more than 300 copies of the Alkitab (Bahasa Malaysia bible) and Bup Kudus (Iban bible) that contained the word “Allah” and that were seized by Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (“JAIS”) on 2 January 2014.
The Malaysian Bar views with much concern reports of the refusal by Majlis Agama Islam Selangor (“MAIS”) and JAIS to abide by the findings of the Attorney General and to comply with his request that JAIS take consequential and appropriate action in accordance with the law. Read the rest of this entry »