“Religious Liberty Watch” blog is merged with “Krisis & Praxis”. Re: www.krisispraxis.com

May 8, 2017

Dear Reader,

Please note that “Religious Liberty Watch” has been merged with “Krisis & Praxis”. Re: https://krisispraxis.com/

This site is now a repository of basic documentation on issues of religious liberty. For analyses and responses to new issues on religious liberty, please refer to “Krisis & Praxis.”

Thank you for your support.

Media Statement by MP Baru Bian on Curtailment of Religious of Non-Muslims

September 9, 2021

MEDIA STATEMENT – 9 SEPTEMBER 2021

UNCONSTITUTIONAL TO CURTAIL RIGHTS OF NON-MUSLIMS

The announcement by Ahmad Marzuk Shaary, deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s department (religious affairs) that the federal government is drafting a bill on control and restrictions on the development of non-Muslim religions is an unwelcome piece of news for all non-Muslims in Malaysia, and especially in Sarawak. This is like a recurring nightmare that won’t go away, and reliving it this close to Malaysia day certainly gives us more reason to reflect on wisdom or otherwise of the decision taken by Sarawak in 1963.

Yesterday’s statement by the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) on this matter points out correctly that Article 11 (1) of the Federal Constitution gives the right to every person: “to profess and practise his religion and, subject to clause (4), to propagate it”. Clause (4) provides that there is to be no propagation of other religions doctrine or belief to Muslims. Clearly, the Constitution safeguards the right of non-Muslims to practise and propagate their religions so long as that does not involve Muslims. I strongly support the call by the MCCBCHST that the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakub clarify the issue, as it has caused much unhappiness and anxiety for the non-Muslims in this country.

I note that the deputy minister had remarked that the bill was in response to the recent High Court decision that non-Muslims are free to use the word ‘Allah’. That decision is consistent with what we understand to be the rights of all Malaysians under the Federal Constitution and particularly the rights of Sarawakians and Sabahans pursuant to the recommendations set out in the Inter Governmental Committee Report 1962 and the terms of the Malaysian Agreement 1963. During the talks leading to the formation of Malaysia, the non-Muslim communities of Sarawak had voiced their reservations about Islam being the religion of the Federation. It was finally agreed that ‘While there was no objection to Islam being the national religion of Malaysia there should be no State religion in Sarawak, and the provisions relating to Islam in the present Constitution of Malaya should not apply to Sarawak’. The absence of a state religion was key to Sarawak’s agreement to join in the formation Malaysia in 1963, a fact which all political leaders should bear in mind. There is no official religion in Sarawak, and all are free to profess and practise the faith of their choosing.

De facto Law Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar sought to downplay the issue, saying that religious matters are under state lists and such laws propagated by the Federal government are not legally binding on states. This does not address the issue of why the government keeps attempting to violate the rights of non-Muslims which are entrenched in the Federal Constitution. It is not good enough to brush the matter aside by saying some politicians shoot their mouths off. As the de facto law minister and a Sarawakian, he has to give us a better and more reassuring response that he and all the other Sarawakian ministers and deputy ministers will speak up against the bills when they are presented at the cabinet level. Better still, he should advise the deputy minister in the prime minister’s department against proceeding with it at this early stage.

Sarawakian MPs from GPS and Bersatu must take note that all Sarawakians are watching them closely – will they have the courage to stand up for our rights or will they be meek and mild minions to their Malayan masters? This is a crucial test for them. The direction the country has been heading is certainly not what our forefathers signed up for and Sarawakians are weary and bitterly resentful of certain Malayan politicians’ unceasing efforts to oppress the minority’s rights. We are slowing but surely becoming a country where religious and racial intolerance is increasing, and religious extremism growing. Passing more laws to control and restrict religious freedoms only encourages religious intolerance and bigotry.

This latest move by the government makes a mockery of the ‘Malaysian Family’ concept propounded by the new PM in his maiden speech. It will divide rather than unite Malaysians.

Baru Bian
MP 214 Selangau

New Laws on control and restrictions on the development of non-Muslim religions

September 7, 2021


What has Islam to do legally with the other religions in Malaysia? After all, shariah law has no jurisdiction over non-Muslims. Are the authorities planning to interfere with the Constitutional freedom of the non-Muslim citizens to profess, practice and propagate their faith? Looks like the authorities are back with their mischievous business.

Added on 8 Sept 2021 – The response from MCCBCHST (see below).

Four new shariah laws in the works, says deputy minister

Free Malaysia Today 6 Sept 2021

PETALING JAYA: Four new shariah laws are being drafted by the federal government, including a bill on control and restrictions on the development of non-Muslim religions, a deputy minister was reported to have said.

Ahmad Marzuk Shaary, who is deputy minister in the prime minister’s department (religious affairs), said a Wakaf Bill, Mufti Bill and Syariah Court Bill were the other new laws being planned.

The new laws are part of a five-year plan by the federal government in which 11 changes will be made to strengthen shariah laws, which will include amendments to existing legislation and eight subsidiary shariah laws, as part of the government’s ‘Empowerment Plan.’

“The government has drafted a plan to strengthen shariah laws, especially in the Federal Territories, over a period of five years from 2020 to 2025,” he said, Harakah Daily reported. “In this empowerment plan, the government has proposed to enact 11 key shariah laws, which include the enactment of new laws and amendments to existing laws.”

Amendments to the controversial Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 are part of the plan, he was quoted as saying.

The proposed amendment bill (commonly referred to as RUU355) gave rise to an opposition outcry with politicians and civil society groups accusing the federal government of seeking to allow the implementation of “hudud” as part of the Islamic penal code.

Islamic laws and the Islamic penal code come under the jurisdiction of state governments, but are handled by the federal government in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan.

Road Map for New Shariah Laws

Official Response from MCCBCHST

No photo description available.
No photo description available.

‘Merry Christmas’ can invalidate halal certificate, says Jakim

December 24, 2020

Nur Hasliza Mohd Salleh Dec 24, 2020

The government’s halal authority today said the use of “Merry Christmas” on products would invalidate their halal certification, in a statement that is likely to reignite a debate on policies seen as regressive to Malaysia’s multicultural identity.

A spokesman for the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) confirmed to MalaysiaNow the existence of such a condition before a company is awarded halal certification, following an incident reported by a member of the public.

MalaysiaNow earlier reported about a bakery which could not fulfil a customer’s request for “Merry Christmas” to be written on a cake he had ordered for delivery to a friend.

Instead, the cake was delivered with the words “Happy Holidays”.

The bakery owner said it was because he had to abide by the rules set by Jakim as part of the application process for getting halal certification.

“The bakery was not wrong as it is part of the regulations,” an officer from Jakim’s communications unit told MalaysiaNow.

He cited a labelling rule stated in Jakim’s manual on the procedures leading towards halal certification.

“Labelling and advertising of products and services should not involve the use of any religious or spiritual passage, symbol or noun such as the names of Allah, sunnah, idols and the like,” according to the document sighted by MalaysiaNow.

The “Merry Christmas” greeting has been a subject of debate in Malaysia, with some Muslim preachers claiming Muslims are prohibited from using the expression as it is a veneration of Christ.

But this is the first time it has emerged that the greeting could also affect a product’s official halal status.

Earlier, the customer, who declined to be named, said it was the first time he had encountered such a problem.

“But the management apologised to me saying it is part of the conditions during the audit process,” he added.

Jakim is legally empowered as the sole authority to issue halal certification for food and goods as well as eateries nationwide.

In the past, critics had questioned several conditions imposed by the department on food manufacturers and franchises seeking halal certification, including prohibiting certain names from being used on the product.

Popular pretzel chain Auntie Anne’s and fast food franchise A&W were forced to rename their popular products due to a requirement by Jakim that words such as “dog” and “beer” are not used on their menu.

Auntie Anne’s renamed its “pretzel dog” as “pretzel sausage”, while A&W was forced to change the names of two popular dishes for which it is known worldwide: Coney Dog and Root Beer, which were renamed as Chicken (or Beef) Coney and RB.

SOURCE: https://www.malaysianow.com/news/2020/12/24/merry-christmas-can-invalidate-halal-certificate-says-jakim/?fbclid=IwAR2HATv8EOyeUEtV33TBNE0PonxsA4W84JnFYHgk5GwJhqehxDIufu0W6z8

Only hell awaits if non-Muslims lead, Hadi says in piece calling for Islamic supremacy

March 5, 2020

Only Hell Awaits if non-Muslims Lead, Hadi Says in Piece Calling for Islamic Supremacy

MalayMail Jan 8 by Zurairi AR

Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has delivered a warning to Muslims to place their trust in Muslim leaders regardless of their wickedness, claiming that believers will end up in hell if led by non-Muslims.

In a lengthy opinion piece titled “Rule of Law: Where is Allah?” today, the PAS president stressed the importance of religion in keeping the law, and the importance for Islam to reign supreme in the governance of country.

“If the one leading is a Muslim, even if he were cruel, at least (others) can become cattle herders,” the Marang MP wrote.

“But if the one who leads is a non-Muslim, even if he were the kindest, (others) can work however they wish [but] without any limits of what is ‘halal’ and ‘haram’ they will still end up in hell.” Read the rest of this entry »

On the Secular State Debate: G-25 Responds to Dr Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil

February 1, 2020

On the secular state debate: A response to Dr Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil — G25 Malaysia

Malaymail Online 27 Jan 2020

Dr Mohamed Azam outlines three arguments as he challenges G-25 which says that Malaysia is a secular state.

1. First, he asserts that the Federal Constitution does not contain, or make any reference to, the word ‘secular’, and in fact, it is only the religion of Islam that is explicitly mentioned in the Constitution.

2. Second, he asserts that Article 3(1) which places Islam in a ‘special’ position favours those who argue that Malaysia is an Islamic state.

3. Finally, Dr Mohamed Azam justifies his position by referring to the then Supreme Court decision in Che Omar bin Che Soh, the High Court decision in Meor Atiqulrahman, etc.

 

G-25 Responds:

First, just because a state is not explicitly characterised as ‘secular’ in its constitution does not detract from the fact that it is ‘secular’.

Likewise, the fact that a state privileges a particular religion (perhaps, as in Malaysia, to give recognition to the cultural and historical significance of the privileged religion in the country) does not mean that it is not a secular state.

Prof Shad Saleem Faruqi argues that Islam as the religion of the Federation in the Constitution does not prevail over other constitutional provisions and guarantees, including fundamental liberties. This has to be read together with Article 4, which provides that the Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the land. What this means, simply, is that any laws (including Islamic laws promulgated by the Parliament or state legislatures) are null and void if they are contrary to the Constitution. Read the rest of this entry »

Why ‘Islam’ is on Malaysian Muslims’ Identity Cards

January 28, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 28 — Last week, the Home Ministry once again reiterated its stance that it will not remove one’s religious status on the MyKad.

But why do Malaysian Muslims have “Islam” printed prominently on their MyKads while non-Muslims only have their religious information recorded on the chip?

Why do Malaysians’ identity cards even contain information on what faith they profess? Why does the government collect information about the religion of each individual Malaysian?

The short answer is because it’s the law. But the actual journey to where we are today may surprise you. (Stay with us, since much of the information below is really hard to get publicly.)

Here’s Malay Mail’s quick summary of everything you need to know about the law and history behind the government’s keeping tabs on Malaysians’ religious affiliations:

1. What law?

The National Registration Act 1959, which only has eight short provisions, does not explicitly say what details should be shown on Malaysians’ identity cards.

But Section 6 of the law says the home minister may make regulations, including rules on how Malaysians’ identity cards will appear and what the details they must display.

As such, the real details are instead in the National Registration Regulations 1990, which has 30 regulations and contains procedures such as what to do if you lose your identity card and how much has to be paid when applying for new or replacement identity cards.

2. It wasn’t always like this

While “Islam” on Malaysian Muslims’ identity cards feels like it has always been there, it was not the case even just a few decades ago. Read the rest of this entry »

Hadi’s Bill-Amendment to Act355 Will Affect Non-Muslims

March 8, 2017

**Please note that materials from this site will eventually be consolidated and transferred to my more active blog: Krisis and Praxis 

Hadi’s Bill Will Affect Non-Muslims, Says Kelantan Lawyer

Sheith Khidhir Bin Abu Bakar FMT News March 8, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: To find out whether PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill affects non-Muslims, just take a look at Kelantan, says a lawyer from the state.

Nik Elin Rashid said events showed that shariah laws were being imposed on non-Muslim citizens in the PAS-led state. For example, she said a non-Muslim owner of a watch shop had been fined for displaying a poster of Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai with her hair uncovered.
In the past, when cinemas were allowed in Kelantan, she said the movies screened only showed actresses with covered hair.
Nik Elin said the PAS government in Kelantan did not take steps to ensure shariah laws applied only to Muslims.

“Instead, they set the laws through the city councils which then implemented the policies, such as that anyone who wants to work in a supermarket must cover her hair,” Nik Elin said at a forum on a public action plan against the amendments to Act 355, in Brickfields here last night….

Bebas spokesman Azrul Mohd Khalib, who was present, said because the amended laws for Muslims would be disproportionately harsher, they would eventually be imposed on non-Muslims as well. “You’re going to hear people say it’s not fair, we want things equal as is stipulated under the Federal Constitution.” Read the rest of this entry »

MCCBCHST OPEN LETTER TO MPs TO VOTE AGAINST HADI’S HUDUD BILL

February 24, 2017

“The Malaysian Counsultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taosim (MCCBCHST) is gravely concerned with Hadi’s Private Members Bill which will be coming up for debate soon in our Federal Parliament. As the Bill will have far –reaching consequences for the Nation, the MCCBCHST feels duty bound to issue this open letter to Members of Parliament to do their duty as required by their oath of office to protect our Federal Constitution.”

You may be interested to read the post and download the 8-page document in PDF format at  http://www.krisispraxis.com:

MCCBCHST OPEN LETTER TO MPs TO VOTE AGAINST HADI’S HUDUD BILL

CFM Media Statement on Threats of Violence & Intimidation Against People of Faith

February 19, 2017

Please pray for Pastor Raymond Koh and his family.

cfm-statement-violence-intimidation-threats-2017

To download the pdf file: imagescfm-statement-violence-intimidation-threats-2017