October 18, 2016
Vote against Hadi’s Private Members Bill — Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Taoism
OCTOBER 15 — The Malaysian Counsultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hindusim, 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 Consitution.
I Is Hadi’s Private Member’s Bill a Bill empowering HUDUD offences?
The answer is a clear ‘YES’. Here is why
The aim of Hadi’s Private Member’s Bill is to seek Parliament’s approval to enhance the Jurisdiction of the Syariah Courts. Presently the Syariah Courts can only impose punishments up to 3 years imprisonment, fine up to RM5,000.00 and whipping up to 6 lashes (commonly known as 3-5-6 limits). This is provided for by the Syariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355).
Read the rest of this entry »
August 10, 2016
PAS politicians and some UMNO government officials repeatedly assure non-Muslims that that Syariah law will not be applied to them even as Abdul Hadi Awang tables the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Bill 2016 to widen the scope of the criminal jurisdiction of Syariah Courts. However, non-Muslims have reasons to doubt whether the assurance is empty, if not disingenuous, when the authorities in Kelantan and officials in various government departments repeatedly impose public policies that infringe on the fundamental liberties of non-Muslims. It is the duty of every conscientious Member of Parliament to reject any proposed legislation that violates the provisions in the Federal Constitution that protect the rights of non-Muslims and Muslims against punitive criminal actions based on religious precepts.
Beware when the wolf ‘courteously’ invites the lamb for supper in his den when it is seen sharpening its claws and teeth.
Read also Shad Faruqi’s analysis on the wider implications of the Syariah Courts Amendment Bill given below: Enhancing Syariah Courts’ Powers. Read the rest of this entry »
August 1, 2016
Press Release (3 Dec 2015): The National Security Council Bill 2015 is a Lurch Towards an Authoritarian Government
This item has been updated since initial publication.
The Malaysian Bar is alarmed by the proposed National Security Council Bill 2015 (“the Bill”) that was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on 1 December 2015 by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Dato’ Seri Shahidan Kassim, and which is reportedly scheduled for its second reading today. The basis for this new law is unclear, and the manner in which it is being rushed through the Dewan Rakyat is inexcusable.
The Bill is an insidious piece of legislation that confers and concentrates vast executive powers in a newly created statutory body called the National Security Council (“NSC”). Read the rest of this entry »
June 1, 2016
G25’s Statement on Dato’ Seri Najib’s Press Statement on the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Bill 2016
In an unprecedented move last Thursday, the government had tabled a motion to suspend its business in the Dewan Rakyat in order to fast-track a Private Member’s Bill brought forth by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang (MP for Marang). The motion to prioritise the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Bill 2016 (‘Hadi’s Bill’) was moved by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Azalina Othman.
The prime minister in a press statement had denied that Hadi’s Bill was meant to implement Islamic criminal laws, that is to say, hudud. He was reported to have said: “I would like to clarify to our friends in BN that there was a misunderstanding…I would like to state that it is not for the implementation of hudud. It is just to give Syariah Courts enhanced punishments. From six-strokes of the cane, to more depending on the offences.” (Malay Mail Online 27 May, 2016)
We, members of G25, are not convinced by Najib’s assertion in his press interview on Friday that the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Bill 2016, is not about implementing hudud. Read the rest of this entry »
June 1, 2016
Henceforth, the new Hudud Bill or the “Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Bill 2016” that is tabled in Parliament should be called UMNO-PAS Hudud Bill. After all, without special assistance from UMNO, the Bill that was tabled by PAS (Hadi) would not get a chance to be debated in Parliament. If passed, the Bill will place the Federal Constitution on a slippery slide leading to a Shariah dominated Constitution. Malaysia will go the way of Pakistan where religious minorities (Christians) are often subject to false accusations and punishment under the Islamic Blasphemy Law. Nearer home, we should be alarmed at the prospect of non-Muslims being caned for ‘violating’ Islamic offences: Re: “Woman, 60, Caned for Selling Alcohol in Aceh” StraitsTimes (14 April 2016); See Also “For First Time in Indonesia, non-Muslim Caned under Islamic law” LosAngelesTimes (16 April 2016). Read the rest of this entry »
November 7, 2015
The Islamization program since the 1980s has produced more incidents of imposition of Islamic values on non-Muslims in the government bureaucracy. We read earlier of citizens who were denied entry into government offices on grounds of ‘inappropriate’ dressing. Imposition of Islamic cultural values on non-Muslims reminds us of the injustice suffered by ‘dhimmis’ (non-Muslim minorities) under Islam in its early history. The recent incident of denying medical treatment to a wounded boy takes ‘dhimminization’ of non-Muslims to a whole new level.
A TWO-YEAR-OLD boy was allegedly denied treatment at two government clinics and a hospital because the pants his mother and aunt were wearing were too short. Read the rest of this entry »
May 22, 2015
CFM MEDIA STATEMENT
CFM Statement Against Increasing Religious Repression May2015
CFM AGAINST SHRINKING PUBLIC SPACE FOR RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION AND INCREASING RELIGIOUS REPRESSION
The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) has observed with deep concern the ever-shrinking public space for religious expression in Malaysia. The CFM also notes the worrying trend of curbing freedom of religious expressions without prior consultation with stakeholders. The overall environment of religious acceptance and understanding deteriorates as the country is dragged from one incident of intolerance to another.
The recent controversy surrounding the demand by a group of Muslims for the removal of the sign of the cross from a church in Taman Medan in Selangor is but the latest expression of that intolerance. Even the central symbol of our faith, the cross, which is the symbol of love and sacrifice of God for humankind is now seen or projected by some as a threat. It joins the list of other expressions of intolerance, including a continuing push for prohibition against religious words and expressions in Bahasa Malaysia which have been commonly used in Christian worship even before our nation was born. There is the fear that common parlance results in influence, propagation and conversion. This fear has caused tension and has led to numerous incidents in recent years where copies of the Al-Kitab, our sacred book, were detained or out-rightly seized, only to be returned after they were mutilated by endorsements of prohibitive words.
Worse, it is now proposed that the importation of the Al-Kitab be subject to newly-announced administrative requirements and procedures in Sabah and Sarawak albeit in draft form for discussion. The latest edition of these administrative requirements contain outright prohibitions of importation of the Al-Kitab into Peninsular Malaysia, save for personal use, in total violation of the Federal Constitution’s protection for freedom of religion.
Read the rest of this entry »
April 29, 2015
MALAYSIAKINI By Bob Teoh 29 April 2015
Putrajaya has unilaterally introduced new curbs on the import of the Alkitab, or the Malay-language Bible, under the Home Ministry’s new SOP or standard operating procedures. It also affects the import and use of other Malay-language Christian publications.
But Joseph Kurup, the de facto national unity minister who unveiled the SOP last week is quick to assure church leaders that Barisan Nasional is “sworn” to protect their freedom of religion as guaranteed by the federal constitution.
This is far from the truth. The new SOP specifically targets Christians and concerns mainly the import and use of the Alkitab. Such imports are now subject to a law that was originally intended only for Muslims – the Printing of Qur’anic Texts Act 1986. Importers must now apply to the Qura’nic Text Division of the Home Ministry which has the final say whether such imports are allowed.
The sole criterion is that such publications cannot contain the word ‘Allah’. This is clearly in contravention of constitutional provisions for freedom of religion.
Article 11 (3a) of the federal constitution states, among other things, “Every religious group has the right to manage its own religious affairs.” The right for Malay-speaking bumiputra Christians to have their own Scriptures in the Malay language is an inalienable universal human right and Putrajaya should not interfere in ecclesiastical matters of other faiths. Two-thirds of the church in Malaysia comprise Malay-speaking bumiputras in East Malaysia.
What is alarming is that the new SOP comes at a time when the very constitutionality of the prohibition of the use of the word ‘Allah’ to refer God by Bumiputra Christians is still being litigated in the courts known as the Jill Ireland Sarawak and Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) Sabah cases. To introduce the new SOP at this stage smacks of not only religious hegemony and arrogance but it also borders on contempt. Read the rest of this entry »