Archive for the ‘Legal Issues’ Category

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.” (more…)

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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

Interfaith Council Urges MPs to Vote Against Hadi’s Upgrade Shariah Courts Bill

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).

(more…)

Be Assured that Syariah Law WILL be Imposed on non-Muslims

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. (more…)

G-25 Rejects Syariah Courts Bill 2016 (UMNO-Pas Bill) as it Opens Doors to Hudud Implementation

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. (more…)

MCCBCHST: WE REJECT THE PRIVATE MEMBERS BILL ON HUDUD

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). (more…)

CFM Against Curbing Religious Expression and Increasing Religious Repression

May 22, 2015

CFM MEDIA STATEMENT images

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.

(more…)

Sedition Amendments a Dire Blow to Rule of Law

April 17, 2015

Malaysiakini 17 April 2015 LINK

Related: See below for press statement by United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Press statement by:

Steven Thiru, Malaysian Bar president
Leonard Shim, Advocates’ Association of Sarawak president
GBB Nandy @ Gaanesh, Sabah Law Association president

 

The Malaysian Bar, the Advocates’ Association of Sarawak and the Sabah Law Association are appalled by the amendments to the Sedition Act 1948 passed by the Dewan Rakyat in the early hours of 10 April 2015.

We are extremely disappointed that the Malaysian Government has not only reneged from the promise made in 2012 to repeal the Sedition Act 1948 and replace it with the National Harmony Act, but has substantially strengthened the former with drastic and oppressive provisions.

The Sedition Act 1948 is an archaic, obsolete, and regressive law that must be abolished. It severely restricts, or even extinguishes, the freedom of speech and expression, and hence tramples on the constitutional rights of Malaysians. It is the antithesis of democracy, justice, and human rights.

The amendments to the Sedition Act 1948 have dealt a crippling blow to the rule of law in Malaysia, and lend weight to the widely held public perception that we are becoming an intolerant authoritarian state.
The democratic space for frank, meaningful, and robust discourse has been palpably reduced.

The amendments reinforce the concern that the limits to freedom of speech and expression are to be determined by those in our society who are not open to adverse comments or contrary ideas, or who are easily offended or angered. This nurtures an environment of intemperance and intolerance.

The amendments passed by the Dewan Rakyat will result in a false sense of unity and harmony that is actually created by intimidation and a climate of fear. This perpetuates insecurity and suspicion amongst our citizenry, and does not augur well for the growth and maturity of our nation. (more…)

Call for Rational Debate of Hudud and Implementation of Syariah Compliant Govenment Policies on Non-Muslims

April 14, 2015

It is encouraging to find Malaysians across the race-and-religion divide coming together to call for rational debate on hudud and the related Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code (1993) and affirming that:

– As all Malaysians, Muslims or non-Muslims, Kelantanese or non-Kelantanese, are rightful stakeholders in the enforcement of KSCC, no one should be penalised, threatened or ridiculed for having or expressing any opinion on the matter.

– The success of Islamic banking in winning over the hearts and minds of non-Muslims through rigour and proven benefits, rather than a deceiving assurance of non-Muslim exclusion or a sloppy “trial-and-error” attitude, should be an inspiring example.

– The implementation of KSCC must not be decided on a winner-takes-all manner, such as a simple majority in the Dewan Rakyat, for this will risk tearing the country apart.

– The inclusive spirit of the Federal Constitution and the 1963 Malaysia Agreement, which lay down the secular basis of the Federation of Malaysia, must be upheld.

First, the provisions of the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code is so evidently ultra vires the Federal Constitution that there is a prima facie case to reject it out of hand. It is agreed that the call for rational dialogue should not be restricted to debating whether one should support or oppose hudud. It is a call to all Malaysians to respect the provision related to the status of Islam and other religions in the Federal Constitution which is premised on a secular framework. Put concretely, the starting point for dialogue should be the original intent of the Federal Constitution as a secular-state where there is no establishment of religion, or  provision for a dominating position for Islam. In this regard hudud or any Islamic law should not be part of our legal system, except in matters of personal law specifically enumerated in the Constitution. See related post: Malaysia Social Contract (Part 1): Religion and Equal Citizenship and Historic Documents on the drafting of the Constitution.

Second, the rational debate should publicly call into question not only the overt hudud agenda of the Kelantan government, but also the arguably, clandestine introduction of syariah compliant provisions in various State enactments in UMNO dominated State Legislative Assemblies (Dewan Undangan Negeri), and imposition of syariah compliant policies in the government departments affecting non-Muslims. Hudud naturally elicits strong and vocal opposition from all reasonable Malaysians as its implementation is an obvious and undeniable act of injustice against non-Muslims. In contrast, the introduction of syariah compliant laws and department policies are subtly and incrementally implemented so that non-Muslims remain unaware of the gradual erosion of their fundamental liberties.

In either case, the inclusive spirit and universal justice enshrined in the Federal Constitution would be shattered by the fatal blow of hudud, or gradually extinguished by the covertly introduced syariah compliant laws of the State Legislative Assemblies and government department policies.

(more…)

Kelantan Hudud Enactment Betrayal of Malaysia Agreement

March 27, 2015

PRESS STATEMENT

SABAH COUNCIL OF CHURCHES

 

Press Statement
Press Statement on Kelantans Shariah Criminal Code II Enactment 1993 (amended 2015) passed by the Kelantan State Legislative Assembly on 19 March 2015 (“Kelantan’s Hudud Enactment”)

imagesSabah Council of Churches _Press Statement on Kelantans Hudud Enactment_27 March 2015

We acknowledge the aspirations of some of our Muslim brothers and sisters, who consider the implementation of Hudud laws as a divine duty. However, there appears to be a divergence of opinion among our Muslim brothers and sisters on the proper innterpretations of Hudud laws, on whether such implementation is a religious imperative and if so, on the manner of its implementation.

Given the severity of the corporal punishments provided under recent Kelantan’s Hudud Enactment, it has inevitably generated much controversies. Among them are the legal difficulties arising from the conflict of laws, double jeopardy, qualifications of witnesses, federal versus state jurisdiction over criminal laws, etc. Although the Hudud Enactment is presently stated to be only applicable to the Muslims, we feel duty bound to express the deep concerns and anxieties of the Christian community in Sabah, who in recent years have struggled to navigate the ambiguous and uncertain state of the law on religious freedom. (more…)