by Elizabeth Zachariah
The Malaysian Insider
17 June 2014
DAP wants Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom to be referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee for his claim in Parliament yesterday that Malaysia was not a secular state.
Oscar Ling Chai Yew (DAP-Sibu) filed a motion under Standing Order 36(12) to refer Jamil to the committee for allegedly confusing the House.
Speaking to reporters later, Ling said Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia has agreed to call Jamil Khir for an explanation.
In his written reply to Ling, Jamil said the formation of Malaysia was based on the Islamic administration of the Malay sultanates and that the Malay sultans were heads of Islam in their respective states.
“This was reinforced by Article 3 of the Federal Constitution which places Islam as the religion of the federation, though other religions can be practised peacefully anywhere within the federation,” he said in the reply.
DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, who was also present today, said the first three prime ministers – Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak and Tun Hussein Onn – would have been “horrified” with Jamil’s answer.
“They would have been completely horrified by the answer as it is completely against their understanding of the foundation of the country.
“The founders of the Alliance – MCA and MIC – will be shocked because that is not the nation that they founded, not the constitution they have been a party to,” he added.
Lim, who is also Gelang Patah MP, said the Alliance Memorandum to the Reid Commission in 1957 states clearly that Islam is the religion of the federation but others are free to profess their own religions.
“But it does not mean that Malaysia is not a secular state. That was in the memorandum.
Lim also questioned why Jamil had answered the question, in which Ling had asked to state if hudud contradicted the Federal Constitution, which was addressed to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“Who is Jamil Khir to answer this question? It is an invasion of power on his part. It is completely improper and unprecedented. What is his portfolio?” he asked.
“It is most unfortunate we have a prime minister who is very negligent of not only his parliamentary duties but also of his prime ministerial duties.
“If the prime minister could not answer the question posed by Ling, it should have been answered by the minister in charge of law and constitution, Nancy Shukri.
“Why wasn’t this question answered by Nancy Shukri?” he asked, and questioned why Nancy was “shunned to the side”.
“The minister in charge of Islamic affaris has become more and more powerful, more dominant in the Najib Cabinet. This is an unhealthy thing,” he added. – June 17, 2014.