Archive for category Constitution

‘Allah’ struggle not over, moderate Muslims should lend support, says UN official

by Jennifer Gomez
The Malaysian Insider
6 July 2014

The struggle for the right of non-Muslims to use the word Allah in Malaysia is not over, a United Nations official said, suggesting that moderate Muslims and intellectuals get on board to lend weight to the church’s fight.

UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, said many Muslims believe the court ruling undermines the credibility of Islam.

“A vast majority of Muslims will agree that it undermines Islam by turning Allah into a personal name of the Islamic God,” he said in a phone interview from Germany.

Muslim scholars and clerics, both locally and worldwide, have criticised the ban, pointing out that the word predates Islam and it meant “God” in Arabic.

Former Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, known to supporters as the “voice of reason” and to critics as a “promoter of liberalism”, was one of those who had criticised the ban. Read the rest of this entry »

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Was justice done to the Herald?

Mohamed Hanipa Maidin
Malaysiakini
July 2, 2014

COMMENT Personally I was upset with the decision by the Federal Court refusing leave for the Herald to appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal. As a lawyer I found the decision was weird. As a Muslim I am of the view justice was not done to the Herald.

We all know that the issue raised by the Herald in the Federal Court was very, very important. Needless to say that being the final arbiter of any legal controversy the Federal Court should have held that the Herald ought to be given the leave to appeal.

Yes, an appeal to the Federal Court is not automatic, meaning that the Herald needed to obtain leave to appeal. Nevertheless, the practice has been that the apex court would normally grant the leave when the issue at hand involves novel and crucial legal or constitutional question and the same also attracts public interest.

No doubt the issue raised by the Herald had met all the legal prerequisites for leave to be duly given. It had raised a very important constitutional issue namely the correct interpretation of Article 11 of the federal constitution in particular Article 11 (4). Via the appeal, the Herald sought to be enlightened by the apex court the proper meaning and perimeters of freedom of religion enshrined in Article 11 of our highest law of the land. Read the rest of this entry »

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Any back-door attempt to enforce hudud is illegal, says Ambiga

V. ANBALAGAN, ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR
1 July 2014

There is an attempt to rewrite the Federal Constitution by using “the back door” to introduce hudud but that plan will fail as it is illegal, says former Bar Council chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasan.

The remark was in reference to a move to table a private member’s bill in Parliament that will allow Kelantan to enforce its Shariah penal code in the PAS-controlled state.

The east coast state has been governed by the Islamist party PAS since 1990.

If passed by a simple majority vote, the bill will give effect to the Kelantan Shariah Criminal Code Enactment II of 1993. Read the rest of this entry »

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At their first Cabinet meeting, will the three MCA/Gerakan new Ministers insist on Jamil Khir retracting two parliamentary statements for flouting BN consensus and established policies or choose to keep quiet to keep their Ministerial posts?

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikkhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) has issued a most timely statement to point out that there are no historical document to contradict the fact that Malaysia was intended to be a secular state all the way back to Merdeka in 1957 and the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

Contradicting the recent parliamentary statement of the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom that Malaysia was not a secular state, MCCBCHST president Jagir Singh said historical evidence and provisions in the Constitution dispel any doubts that the nation’s founding fathers had intended the nation to be a secular, not an Islamic state.

He cited historical documents such as the Alliance Memorandum submitted to the Reid Commission in 1956, and the white paper issued by the British government in June 1957, to contradict Jamil Khir’s claim that Malaysia was not intended to be a secular state.

For instance, the Alliance Memorandum jointly submitted by Umno, MCA and MIC to the Reid Commission specifically stated that they wanted a secular state, although the religion of the state was to be Islam. Read the rest of this entry »

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Let Liow and Mah prove MCA and Gerakan will be Umno’s equal in government by restoring original BN consensus and getting their first Cabinet meeting to disown Jamil Khir’s parliamentary statement that “Malaysia is not secular state”

After the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s announcement of his re-appointment as Cabinet Minister on Wednesday, MCA President Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai declared that MCA and UMNO share equal roles in the Barisan Nasional (BN) framework, as well as in the government, in accordance with the BN’s traditional system of consensus.

Liow said MCA will not play second fiddle to UMNO in the Cabinet.

This is also the stand of the Gerakan President, Datuk Mah Siew Keong.

Just “as the proof of the pudding is in the eating”, let Liow and Mah prove that MCA and Gerakan will be UMNO’s equal in government by restoring the original BN consensus and getting their first Cabinet meeting to disown the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom’s parliamentary statement that “Malaysia is not a secular state”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Recent revival of hudud controversy another deep UMNO plot to cause dissension and break-up of Pakatan Rakyat

PAS Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad has accused UMNO behind the controversial raid and seizure of Malay and Iban Bibles by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) and the disruption of the Hindu wedding of Zarinah Abdul Majid to regain power through the backdoor after losing the Selangor state government in two successive general elections.

This was in fact not the only mischief UMNO was up to, as the recent revival of the hudud controversy was another deep UMNO plot to cause dissension and break-up of Pakatan Rakyat.

A study of the recent revival of the hudud controversy will show that it was all initiated by UMNO when the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom made the surprise announcement in Parliament during the winding up of the Royal Debate on March 27 declaring that the Barisan Nasional Federal Government was prepared to help the Kelantan State Government to implement hudud law, even suggesting that PAS move a private member’s bill in Parliament on the matter.

That started off what is to become a three-month-long revival of the hudud controversy, plunging the three Pakatan Rakyat component parties of DAP, PAS and PKR to the second crisis to engulf Pakatan Rakyat in the six-year history of the alternative coalition.

The first crisis faced by Pakatan Rakyat was in September 2011 which nearly led to its break-up and was also over the hudud controversy. It was only when Pakatan Rakyat leaders from PAS, PKR and DAP finally reaffirmed the common policy programme proclaimed earlier by PKR, PAS and DAP leaders in the formation of PR as PR’s common priority agenda that PR was saved from an early demise.

If PR had broken up over the hudud controversy in September 2011, then the historic result of the 13th General Elections last May which saw PR winning 52 per cent of electoral vote and reducing the Najib federal administration into a minority government, with PR winning 89 Parliamentary seats and 229 state assembly seats (excluding Sarawak) would not have been achieved. Read the rest of this entry »

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MCA and Gerakan cannot dismiss Jamil Khir’s “Malaysia is not secular state” statement in Parliament as a personal view but must demand a retraction and a clear Cabinet and BN Supreme Council pronouncement that Malaysia is a secular state with Islam as official religion

After more than a week, both the MCA and Gerakan Presidents have finally come out with a position today on the parliamentary statement by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom that Malaysia is not a secular state, but both have tried to evade the issue by dismissing it as merely Jamil’s “personal view”.

The excuse that a Minister is giving his “personal opinion” might be used if the Minister is speaking outside Parliament, but it is completely unacceptable when a Minister makes a speech or a statement in Parliament.

There is no such thing as a “personal view” when a Minister speaks in Parliament, whether in speeches or in replies to parliamentary questions, as whatever the Minister speaks in Parliament is in an official capacity on behalf of the Barisan Nasional Cabinet which binds all Ministers under the doctrine of collective Ministerial responsibility. Read the rest of this entry »

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Another fatal defect in Speaker Pandikar’s ruling that Malaysia is not a secular state was his sole reliance on Jamil Khir’s explanation and failure to canvass all views in Parliament on the controversial subject, including those from non-UMNO Ministers/MPs from BN

Yesterday I said that Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia had exceeded his powers and functions as Speaker of Parliament when he passed judgment on the Malaysian Constitution ruling that Malaysia is not a secular state.

This is because it is not the role or function of the Speaker of Parliament to interpret the Constitution and make a Constitutional ruling which becomes an authority quoted by all and sundry as the law of the land.

Although Pandikar has limited his interpretation to “merely for the purposes of this House” and not an opinion to be “an authority” in the country, there is no doubt that it would be quoted by various quarters as an “authority” both inside and outside Parliament to justify the arbitrary, dubious and controversial stand that Malaysia is not a secular state.

Another fatal defect in Pandikar’s ruling that Malaysia is not a secular state was his sole reliance on the explanation by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom and his failure to canvass all views in Parliament on the controversial subject, including those from non-UMNO Ministers and MPs from Barisan Nasional.

As the DAP MP for Bandar Kuching, Chong Chieng Jen had tried to point out in Parliament after Pandikar’s ruling yesterday, as far as Sarawak and Sabah were concerned with regard to the formation of Malaysia in 1963, Jamil was very wrong to say that Malaysia is not a secular state “berdasarkan kepada fakta sejarah yang menunjukkan bahawa Malaysia telah ditubuhkan berasaskan Kerajaan Islam Kesultanan Melayu dan Raja Raja Melayu merupakan Ketua Agama bagi negeri masing masing” – as both Sarawak and Sabah (and Singapore, which was a party to the Malaysia Agreement 1963) did not have a history of Malay Rulers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Putrajaya being ‘deliberately divisive’ to hold on to power, says report

The Malaysian Insider
20 June 2014

Malaysians are wondering whether Putrajaya’s unspoken political strategy is to divide the predominantly Muslim-Malay country along racial lines in a bid to hold on to power following sharpening racial and religious tensions, the Edge Review reported today.

This follows incidents that have rocked Malaysia’s delicate racial and religious relations – acts by Muslim authorities, who snatched a body at a funeral and disrupted a Hindu wedding ceremony on suspicion that the deceased and the bride respectively might be Muslims.

The weekly said there were also signs of a campaign by the country’s civil service to push a religious-inspired agenda.

The report cited other similar incidents, such as the threat by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) to destroy the 301 Bibles it seized from the Bible Society of Malaysia and the refusal of Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar to follow a court ruling in a highly publicised custody battle that ordered a Muslim convert father to return the children to the mother, who was a Hindu.

The weekly took Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to task for “not helping the deepening discord”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Three things we learned about: the Islamisation of Malaysia

By Justin Ong
The Malay Mail Online
June 20, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, June 20 — Malaysia professes to be a multi-racial and multi-cultural federation with Islam as its religion, but there is a mounting movement to turn it simply into an Islamic state.

While defenders of the status quo insist that it is a secular state and Islam’s position is largely decorative, it appears they are fighting a losing battle against the tide of growing Islamisation in the country.

Slowly, but surely, Malaysia is headed down the path where religion permeates not just houses of worship, but all aspects of life.

Here are the three things we learned about the growing Islamisation of Malaysia.

1. The minister of Islamic affairs is more powerful than any other

Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom’s official portfolio is minister in charge of Islamic affairs, but it appears that his purview extends far beyond religion. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pandikar exceeded his powers and functions when he passed judgment on the Malaysian Constitution ruling that Malaysia is not a secular state

Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia exceeded his powers and functions as Speaker of Parliament when he passed judgment on the Malaysian Constitution ruling that Malaysia is not a secular state.

Can the Speaker of Parliament interpret the Constitution and make a Constitutional ruling which becomes an authority quoted by all and sundry as the law of the land?

Of course not, and to be fair to Pandikar, he is fully aware of this, which is why he qualified what he said in Parliament as only his interpretation “merely for the purposes of this House” and not an opinion to be “an authority” in the country.

However, such caveat by Pandikar will not prevent his “ruling” from being quoted by various quarters as an “authority” or even used by Ministers in future parliamentary meetings to justify their arbitrary, dubious and controversial stand that Malaysia is not a secular state.

Furthermore, it is not within the province of the powers and functions for a Speaker to give his interpretation or ruling on a “hot potato” issue as to whether Malaysia is (i) secular; (ii) not secular; or (iii) Islamic state.

Pandikar should have decided on the issue before him, whether to refer the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom to the Committee of Privileges without wading into this political minefield. Read the rest of this entry »

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UMNO Selangor motion on hudud implementation withdrawn as Selangor PR State Assembly members from DAP, PKR and PAS fully united and had decided to vote against UMNO motion in keeping with the PR Common Policy Framework that justice, freedom and good governance and not hudud are the common PR agenda priorities

With 74 days to go to celebrate the 57th Merdeka Day Anniversary and 90 days to celebrate the 51st Malaysia Day Anniversary, the nation’s greatest strengths – our ethnic, religious and cultural diversities – seemed to have become our greatest weaknesses.

Voices of intolerance, hatred, conflict and extremism filled the public spaces and are trying to drown out the voices of tolerance, peace, harmony and moderation, finding surprise ally in the authorities who have abdicated their responsibilities to uphold the law and keep the peace in the country.

Suddenly, Malaysia has become an even more abnormal country – symbolized by the continuing mystery of the 102-day missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370 tragedy/disaster with 239 passengers/crew on board and the 13-month disappearance of the Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak from major national issues after the 13th General Elections in May last year.

There are so many laws in the country, but Malaysia has never been more lawless in recent weeks.

The Inspector-General of Police should be the Chief Custodian of Law in the country but he has become the No. 1 Law-breaker in refusing to enforce the supreme law of land – the Malaysian Constitution.

There is even a quiet coup d’etat in the Cabinet, with the hitherto third-tier Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Islamic affairs usurping the powers of second-tier and even first-tier Ministers in the Cabinet when the Minister concerned, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom shunted aside both the Prime Minister and the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of law and the constitution, Nancy Shukri to give the unilateral, arbitrary and unconstitutional statement in Parliament that Malaysia is not a secular state.

This is the first time in the nation’s 57-year history that a Minister said in Parliament that Malaysia is not a secular state – in total contradiction to the statement by Bapa Malaysia and the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman who said in Parliament more than half a century ago on May 1. 1958: “I will like to make it clear that this country is not an Islamic state as it is generally understood; we merely provided that Islam shall be the official religion of the state”. Read the rest of this entry »

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DAP wants Jamil Khir referred to rights and privileges committee over Islamic state claim

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. Read the rest of this entry »

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M’sia not secular state – what say Sabah, S’wak?

Malaysiakini
Jun 17, 2014

YOURSAY ‘Position of Sabah and S’wak, where there is no official religion, is clear.’

Malaysia not secular state, gov’t says

Aries46: The Federal Court has in no uncertain terms declared that we are a secular nation and this has been reaffirmed even in a High Court decision last month.

Even a layperson is aware that we are a constitutional monarchy and our constitution is based on secular and democratic principles under parliamentary supremacy.

Even Muslims are subject to the civil courts notwithstanding the fact that the Syariah Court has jurisdiction over their religious and customary family matters.

While the civil court may not have purview over matters related to the syariah court, the latter is also not empowered to trample on the constitutional rights and provisions under civil law that is legally binding and exclusive to non-Muslims, under the guise of conversion.

This is an injustice universally under any law, Islamic or otherwise. Read the rest of this entry »

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Look up the history books, Malaysia is a secular state

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
16 June 2014

Here we go again. A Malaysian minister is insisting that Malaysia is not a secular state, and that is anchored in Islamist roots because there are the Malay rulers and state Islamic laws exist for Muslims.

That argument might have worked if it was just Malaya that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datul Seri Jamil Khir Baharom was referring to in a written reply in Parliament to Oscar Ling Chai Yew (DAP-Sibu) today.

But you know what, Mr Minister, we are now in Malaysia and perhaps you should go read your history books.

This country was formed in 1963, and brings together Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak. Singapore was told to leave in 1965.

Jamil Khir is not the first minister to believe that Malaysia is not a secular state and is possibly an Islamic nation because Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said as much years ago. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is this what the 10th MCA President has been reduced to, hankering only after Cabinet positions …?

Instead of just mechanically re-launching the MCA School of Political Studies and the forum on the Thoughts of Tun Tan Cheng Lock with empty words, it would be more worthwhile if the MCA President Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai remembers the spirit and struggle of the MCA founder and used the occasion to demonstrate that he is a worthy successor to Cheng Lock.

In 1957 under Cheng Lock’s leadership as MCA President, together with other Alliance leaders Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun V T Sambanthan, the Alliance leadership submitted a memorandum to the Reid Constitution Commission stating clearly and unequivocally that the religion the country shall be Islam with the assurance: “The observation of this principle shall not impose any disability on non-Muslim nationals professing and practising their own religions and shall not imply the State is not a secular state”.

What has Liow and the present MCA leadership done to uphold Cheng Lock’s uncompromising principle during the Merdeka days that Malaya and now Malaysia will forever be a secular state? Read the rest of this entry »

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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. Read the rest of this entry »

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Liow and Mah should seriously reconsider whether they want to go down in history as politicians who are prepared to be Ministers regardless of political principles

The Free Malaysia Today report by Anjulie Ngan “MCA anticipates cabinet reshuffle soon” today is double confirmation – of imminent Cabinet reshuffle but no imminent principled stand by MCA President Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Gerakan President Datuk Mah Siew Keong whose only concern is to get back into Cabinet at whatever cost.

Liow told the reporter that he anticipated Najib to have a cabinet reshuffle soon but he did not know exactly when – as this is up to Najib to decide.

But isn’t Liow, together with Mah, going to ask Najib to put on hold any Cabinet reshuffle as MCA and Gerakan will not be part of Barisan Nasional Cabinet until UMNO can give a solemn undertaking that it would not push for implementation of hudud law whether at federal or state level?

This is not just because of the Umno Selangor Assemblyman for Sungai Air Tawar Kamarol Zaki Abdul Malik’s motion in the Selangor State Assembly next week to push for the implementation of hudud.

Kamarol’s motion is just one of triple UMNO actions in the past three months which showed that MCA, Gerakan and the other 10 Barisan Nasional component parties have no say whatsoever in Barisan Nasional policy decision-making and what UMNO says, does and decides are the law in Barisan Nasional. Read the rest of this entry »

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Time for A-G to explain his decisions on charges against opposition leaders, say lawyers

BY V. ANBALAGAN, ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR
The Malaysian Insider
May 15, 2014

Lawyers today demanded Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail (pic) come out of his cocoon and explain several questionable decisions made by his office relating to charges against opposition leaders which were later thrown out of court.

They are particularly aghast that Gani had decided to go ahead and re-charge opposition leader Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad for his failure to give a 10-day notice to the police under the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) to organise a rally.

This was despite the Court of Appeal’s acquittal of Nik Nazmi on April 25 after striking down a punishment provided under the PAA as unconstitutional because it breached the basic rights of citizens to assemble peacefully.

Yesterday, activists Mohd Bukhairy Sofian, Edy Noor Ridzuan and Badrul Hisham Shaharin, or better known as Chegubard, were also granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal by the lower courts as the judges said they were bound by the Court of Appeal ruling.

The lawyers said that Gani must realise that society’s expectations of him have increased, and he now owes them an explanation.

Gani must defend the integrity of the office he had been holding since 2001, they said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Stopping those who spew hate in the name of religion

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
May 07, 2014

If there are any police officials still interested in being honest brokers and if the rule of law means anything anymore in Malaysia, a whole clutch of speakers at yesterday’s seminar on the Allah word and Christianity should be arrested and charged with sedition.

In some other countries, they would be charged with hate crimes because hate is what they were trying to make Malaysians do. Hate Christians and hate Malaysians of the Christian faith. Read the rest of this entry »

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