Many Malaysians were disappointed when the Federal Court ruled that apostasy matters should be decided by the Shariah Court and not the Civil Court, and dismissed the application by four Sarawakians for a court order to direct the National Registration Department (NRD) to recognize and register them as Christians. [Re: Federal Court defers to Shariah courts in Sarawak apostasy cases]
Several church leaders have called for peaceful acceptance of the Court judgment as the law should be upheld and peace maintained in our society. Hopefully, Parliament will table amendments to ensure that the law is more just and equitable in matters of religious liberty for all citizens.
We should not miss a more fundamental concern in the Court controversy, that is, religious liberty has become a tenuous legacy for Malaysian democracy with the introduction of new shariah-compliant laws which authorize the state bureaucracy to extend its powers to regulate the private morality and religious activities of its citizens. It has become painfully clear that any intervention by the government inevitably restricts the religious liberty of citizens. Continue reading “Religious Liberty and Limited State Bureaucracy: The Logic of Locke”
Prominent leaders in Sabah and Sarawak have refuted claims that amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act, or RUU355, will not affect non-Malays and Muslims in the two states.
Writing in an open letter, they urged the people to preserve the country as a secular state and to reject Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s Private Member’s Bill to amend RUU355. The letter, signed by 20 leaders including politicians, former civil servants and the G25 group of eminent Malays, was made available in four languages – English, Malay, Kadazandusun and Iban.
Malaysia, they said, was founded together with Sabah and Sarawak as a secular federation, in which Islam as the “religion of the federation” only played a ceremonial role.
“Lest we forget, religious freedom was stressed and assured in the merger negotiations of Malaysia. Hudud punishments were never placed on the agenda. “Had hudud punishments been on the cards, the Malaysia project would have likely been rejected by the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak,” they added.
Introducing hudud, they warned, would breach both the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Federal Constitution…“Together with the disproportionality of the offences and punishments, the introduction of these three hudud punishments (in Kelantan and Terengganu) will qualitatively alter the secular nature of the legal system,” they said. Sabahan and Sarawakian Muslims working and living in Peninsular Malaysia would also be subjected to hudud, they added…
“For Malaysia’s sake and to preserve our country as a secular federation, we must say no to Bill 355,” they said.
FULL STATEMENT GIVEN BELOW:
Continue reading “Prominent Sabah-Sarawak Leaders Reject Hadi’s Bill”
Non-Muslims Decline Invitation to Have Tea in Shariah Parlour
“Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly,
‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I’ve a many curious things to shew when you are there.”
Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”
PAS and UMNO politicians are quick to reprimand non-Muslims for refusing to support their proposal to amend Act 355, despite being given assurances that the Act will not affect non-Muslims. These politicians ignore the fact that non-Muslims have good reasons to be wary of enhanced shariah courts since their freedom has been violated many times by Shariah officials. See Shariah Law has no Consequences on Non-Muslims? HUMBUG (HAM-BAK)!
Non-Muslims are eminently reasonable when they argue they should have a genuine say in drafting laws that impact their lives, and that it is the civil court rather than the shariah court that should be enhanced since only the civil court can provide a fair and natural platform to ensure equal protection under the law for citizens from diverse religions seeking to forge a common life in a plural society.
Non-Muslims remain wary of Muslim legislators who have demonstrated that they are prepared to act unilaterally as they press ahead with Shariah-complaint laws with a view of imposing them on non-Muslims. Given below are two further examples of disturbing rhetoric from Muslim legislators who insist that Shariah law should be applied to non-Muslims. This rhetoric can only heighten the anxieties of non-Muslims.
Note that the proposed law to abolish black magic will be applied to non-Muslims. More disturbing is the proposal that the special body of Islamic experts advising (supervising?) the court are exempted from cross examination, and that its judgment in a trial will be accepted by the court as conclusive. Continue reading “Black Magic and Beauty Contest. Shariah will be Applied to non-Muslims. No Thanks!”
While the proposed amendments does not mention the word “hudud” nevertheless, the far-reaching provisions would permit the introduction of hudud law and hudud-prescribed punishments in Malaysia
Excepts from CFM Fact Sheet on Hudud Amendmenet Act 355:
7. The current proposed amendments deal only with the increase in the existing punishments. It is proposed that the current maximum sentences of imprisonment for a period not exceeding 3 years, a fine not exceeding RM 5,000, or not more than 6 strokes of the cane, or a combination thereof, be increased to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 30 years, a fine not exceeding RM100,000, or not more than 100 strokes of the cane, or a combination thereof.
8. “It is clear that while the proposed amendments to Act 355 again do not mention the word “hudud”, the fact is that the increase in the maximum punishments will allow for hudud-compliant punishments to be meted out. Continue reading “CFM Hudud Fact Sheet on Amendment to Act 355”
RELATED POST: Shariah Law has no Consequences on Non-Muslims? HUMBUG
RELATED POST: MCCBCHST: WE REJECT THE PRIVATE MEMBERS BILL ON HUDUD
** Note to the reader. There will be some amendments to Hadi’s bill as it goes through the various readings in Parliament. Supporters of Hadi’s bill will then claim that the statement of MCCBCHST’s is no longer relevant. We disagree!
In any case, the statement is shared as documentation about the baseline or ultimate goal of the Islamic Hudud agenda which will be “implemented in phases”. The statement also reminds us the hudud context even as the next stage will be on explaining why the bill with the new amendments is still unacceptable.
** Call your MPs to make sure they vote against Hadi’s Bill (UMNO Assisted).
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.
Excerpts from the 8-page MCCBCHST Open Letter to MPs
I. Is HADI’s Private Member’s Bill a Bill empowering HUDUD offences?
The answer is a clear ‘YES”. Here it 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…
The proposed new Section 2A is very wide and states that Syariah Courts can impose punishments which are allowed by Syariah Law in relation to punishments which are listed under the above Section, other than the death penalty. Continue reading “MCCBCHST OPEN LETTER TO MPs TO VOTE AGAINST HADI’S HUDUD BILL”
Related Post: Kelantan Salons Ordered To Remove Posters of ‘Sexy’ Hair Models
UMNO will be lending a helping hand to PAS to push a Bill through Parliament which would amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, also known as Act 355. The amendments would extend power to the Islamic courts to enforce heavier punishment for Islamic offences. PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang and UMNO leaders assure non-Muslims that the proposed amendments will not affect non-Muslims. Re: Hadi to Make More Amendments to Shariah Bill] [FMT 23 Nov 2016]
Non-Muslims are naturally skeptical towards the assurances from PAS and UMNO. Both the local and international media have sounded the alarm that the amendments would encourage further imposition of Islamic regulations onto non-Muslims.
Re:The Amendment to Shariah Courts Act, Why the Brouhaha? [Malaysian Chinese News 13 June 2016] Continue reading “Shariah Law has no Consequences on Non-Muslims? HUMBUG”
Related Post, Highly Recommended: Interfaith Council Urges MPs to Vote Against Hadi’s Upgrade Shariah Courts Bill
by Guest Writer Mr. Lim Heng Seng.
[The policy introduced by the Mahathir administration in the early 1980s, innocuously promoting Islamic universal values, became a platform for certain quarters to embark on a drive to change the fundamental character of the Malaysia polity and its legal order.
Will Malaysia end up as an Islamic or quasi-Islamic state by the gradual and subtle re-writing of her foundational document, the Federal Constitution? Or will she retain her character as an essentially secular nation?
These developments in Islamisation threaten to subvert the very foundation on which we, the citizens, and the territorial components of Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak have held together as one nation.]
Continue reading “The Federal Constitution, Islamisation and the Malaysian Legal Order”
This article demonstrates how the current view that only the Syariah Court has the jurisdiction to rule on the status on those who had renounced Islam began with a misreading of a minority view in an earlier Supreme Court’s judgment in Dalip Kaur and treating it as setting a binding precedent. The non-binding minority view subsequently turned into ratio decidendi when the Federal Court in Soon Singh case approved the High Court’s judgment which ‘followed’ the minority view instead of the ratio of the majority judgment in Dalip Kaur.
Confusion between ratio decidendi (“the reason for the decision” which has legal binding effect) and orbiter dictum (“an incidental, by the way statement” which has only persuasive value) also arose in cases relating to religious freedom in Malaysia.
I refer readers to the careful analysis by Kuek Chee Ying & Tay Eng Siang in “When Orbiter Dictum and Minority View Become Ratio Decidendi” published in the Malayan Law Journal (2015) volume 3, pages lxxxii-xcvi Continue reading “Why Recent Court Judgments Which Restrict Religious Freedom May be Questioned.”
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.
To read the full article, visit a new post at Religious Liberty Watch: Be Assured Syariah Law WILL be Imposed on non-Muslims
Malaysian Bar Press Release | Preserve, Respect and Uphold the Supremacy of the Federal Constitution
8 June 2016
The Malaysian Bar is extremely concerned over recent attempts by certain parties to ignore or reject entrenched principles in our supreme law, namely the Federal Constitution.
It was reported that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Dato’ Seri Jamil Khir Baharom (“Minister”) said that “the laws to ban unilateral conversion contravenes [sic] Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution which states the religion of a minor under the age of 18 can be determined by their respective mother or father”.
The Minister’s remarks are erroneous. Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution provides: “For the purposes of Clause (3), the religion of a person under the age of eighteen years shall be decided by his parent or guardian” (emphasis added). Article 12(4) must be read with the interpretation provisions in the Federal Constitution — Article 160 and the Eleventh Schedule — that provide that all words in the singular also include the plural. Hence, the religion of children under the age of 18 is to be decided by both parents, where both parents are alive. Continue reading “Malaysian Bar: Supremacy of Federal Constitution and Syariah Court Enactments (2016) June 8, 2016”