Is the government running scared of religious authorities?


COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
15 June 2014

In the past week or so, Malaysians were reminded once again that the country is a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarchy. That the Federal constitution is supreme.

So why are elected governments appear to fear appointed religious officials who are now thumbing their noses at the government, the country’s top lawyer and the supreme law?

Why aren’t they standing up to these religious authorities and put them in their place? The government of the day, be it in Putrajaya or any of the state capital, was voted by all Malaysians and not just one particular group.

The government represents all, not just one particular group. So do the police and all branches of the government. Instead they now appear to just consider the views of religious authorities rather than following the law of the land.

Two particular episodes come to mind that show the government’s fear of some religious authorities.

One, Putrajaya has stepped into the touchy issue of child custody battles, saying that parents involved in such interfaith disputes should wait for a Federal Court ruling on their quarrel instead of asking the police to enforce court rulings.

Lawyers are in agreement that marriages contracted under civil law should be resolved by civil law should there be any dispute, notwithstanding that one spouse has converted to Islam.

But Putrajaya and the police appear to drop the ball on this, with ridiculous ideas of waiting for the case to take its time to the Federal Court or putting children of such custody battles in state childcare centres until the issue reaches a final settlement.

How long will that take? Which parent will have a say in their children’s welfare? All because the government does not want to confront religious authorities?

The second episode deals with Selangor where Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim’s government is facing a recalcitrant religious council that refuses to follow legal advice and hand back Malay and Iban-language Bibles to The Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM).

Instead of directing the council to follow the law, Khalid wants to seek consensus on the matter. So what happens to the law? Is it just window-dressing for the world to know that Malaysia has some laws?

How is it that the will of the people is now subverted by a group of appointed officials who do not appear to answer to anyone except themselves?

Again, the state government here does not want to confront the religious officials and stick to the law.

These two governments can preach all they want about a belief in democracy and that it is the people’s will but they wilt in the face of religious authorities. If this is the case, why bother with elections and the pretence of a government?

It is a sad day indeed for Malaysia that after 51 years as a nation of 13 states, the elected government at the central and state level is running scared of some religious officials who want to impose their blinkered and narrow views. – June 15, 2014.

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  1. #1 by Noble House on Monday, 16 June 2014 - 4:19 am

    Are we heading into a lawless society? Where the country’s top policeman and a recalcitrant religious council are allowed to interpret their own versions of the law and acted in contempt of Court and the country’s top lawyer? Where certain group of people are allowed to roam free and do as they liked by taking the law into their own hands? Is there still a government, be it Federal or State, in reality?

    First, it was the issue doing with race. Now, it is religion. What is next? Royalty? Haven’t we been through all these? Sheer coincidence? Guess who is laughing behind all the ruckus!

    The PR government, in particular MB Khalid, could do well to move fast and act to defuse the situation before it gets worst. There is a time-bomb waiting to explode! Seek HRH the Sultan’s consent and his blessings, or otherwise, take it to the Federal Court. Get your act right and clean up your administration of these undesirable characters. Time you put a stop to all these nonsense and show them who’s the BOSS!

    As for PM Najib, I am not sure he is still with the Rakyat!

  2. #2 by Cinapek on Monday, 16 June 2014 - 12:13 pm

    There has been many questions asked if we are becoming a lawless state.

    The answer is no. We are even worse. We have different sets of laws applied to the convenience of those who has the power to twist them to their advantage.

    Because if we have no laws, and it is every man for himself, then the people knows what they have to do. But if they are under the impression that there are laws, it is a guessing game which law is applicable.

    So good luck , folks!!

    • #3 by cemerlang on Monday, 16 June 2014 - 4:49 pm

      Each one interpreting and saying different things. In the end what is 1 becomes 10. Where got standard ? You are doing for the sake of doing. You are not doing to improve things. What is the difference between doing and not doing ? Thing is as of now, Malaysians are not Thais. They are not ready for the worst because they have their own lives to live. If fight breaks out, everyone rugi. Whether powerful or powerless, all will rugi.

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