Act 355: Interfaith Group’s Statement Risks Weakening Constitutional Liberties

What is the problem with some non-Muslims when the Muslims tries to strengthen the teaching of Islam in an Islamic country?

Why must non-Muslims oppose laws that only affect the Muslims?

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) opposes the private member’s bill regarding the Act 355 or Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 tabled by PAS President, Datuk Seri Haji Hadi, reported Malay Mail Online on May 31, 2016.

According to Malay Mail Online, MCCBCHST claimed that, “…. the proposed law risks weakening the country’s constitutional liberties, including religious freedom.”

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) expressed today its opposition to the Syariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) (Amendment)Bill 2016, and warned that the proposed law risks weakening the country’s constitutional liberties, including religious freedom.

~Malay Mail Online.

In the first place I wonder if the council leaders understand Dato’ Seri Haji Hadi’s Private Member’s Bill and the Act 355 before making the statement.

As I wrote in, “Akta 355: DAP MPs, Please Do Your Homeworks”,  the Private Member’s Bill  is not about proposing a new Act but it is about amending an existing Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act, which is to increase the Syariah Courts punishments that are currently limited to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or with a fine not exceeding five thousand ringgit or with whipping not exceeding six strokes or with any combination thereof.

So how can the Bill, “risk weakening the country’s constitutional liberties, including religious freedom”?

Firstly, since Act 355 is an existing Act about criminal jurisdiction of the Syariah Courts which only affects persons professing the religion of Islam, how could the increase of the Syariah Courts current existing punishments weakens the country’s constitutional liberties, including religious freedom when the Bill will empowers the teaching of Islam for the Muslims and has nothing to do with people professing other religions?

Instead, the Bill will strengthen the “constitutional liberties,  including religious freedom” of the Muslims because it will give more constitutional rights for the Muslims in professing the true teaching of Islam and to curb deviant teachings that claimed to be the true Islamic teaching.

So, will that pose problems to the council?

In fact, it is MCCBCHST that is “weakening the country’s constitutional liberties, including religious freedom” by interfering into the internal matter of the Muslims and denying the constitutional rights of the Muslims to manage their own religion.

Article 11(3) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia:

Every religious group has the right— to manage its own religious affairs;

So, in my opinion, since the council does not represent the Muslims and the Bill will not effect the people of religion groups represented by the council the council has no constitutional rights to intervene in the matters of the Muslims and to tell the Muslims how to manage Islam. 

Also said in the same article by Malay Mail Online:

“It has the potential to undermine religious freedom and fundamental liberties as enshrined in Part II of the Constitution. The Non-Muslim’s position too would be in jeopardy under Hudud and they would not have equal rights if implemented,” the group said in a statement.

~Malay Mail Online

I do not understand why the leaders of the council group are so opposed to the Bill that not only will give so much advantages for to the Muslims but also very positive impacts to the society because a Muslims who observes the true teaching of Islam will be a very good citizen and will obey the law of our country.  

So I wonder why that will pose a problem to others.

Stating that:

“Our former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had warned the PAS government of Kelantan in 1994 against introducing Hudud Law in the State because ‘Hudud Law punishes victims while actual criminals were often left off with minimum punishment,” it said. 

~ Malay Mail Online.

If Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad made that statement regarding the Bill, then he clearly does not understand it.

So, the council must stop listening to Tun regarding the matter and please ask for clarifications from the official authorities.

That is why Dato’ Sri Najib Razak must not listen to Tun and oppose the Private Member’s Bill just because Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad disagreed with the amendment.

4 thoughts on “Act 355: Interfaith Group’s Statement Risks Weakening Constitutional Liberties

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