Category Archives: Law

Eric Paulsen Loses Defamation Suit Against Hafiz Nordin

Eric Paulsen looking devastated after losing the case.

Lawyers For Liberty Executive Director, Eric Paulsen lost a defamation case against the Chairman of Jaringan Muslimin Pulau Pinang (JMPP), Ustaz Hafiz Nordin at the High Court in the Kuala Lumpur today.

High Court Judge the Honourable Dato’ Mohd Zaki bin Abdul Wahab ruled the Plaintiff, Eric Paulsen failed to prove the Defendant (Ustaz Hafiz Nordin) was defamatory against him ordered Eric Paulsen to pay costs in the amount of RM20,000 to Ustaz Hafiz Nordin.

Eric Paulsen filed a suit against Ustaz Hafiz based on the article published by Portal Islam dan Melayu on the 9th of February, 2015 entitled “Jangan biar Eric Paulsen bebas tanpa perbicaraan” where Ustaz Hafiz was reported as saying:

Apa yang penting kita buktikan bahawa Eric yang didukung oleh Amerika Syarikat dan Kesatuan Eropah sebagai seorang fraud yang ‘cari makan’ dengan menipu, memfitnah itu telah menghasut masyarakat membenci Islam dengan tweet-tweetnya yang tidak bertanggungjawab.”

The portal interviewed Ustaz Hafiz regarding Eric Paulsen’s tweet on the 9th of January, 2015:

Below are some photos taken at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex earlier today:

Menjawab “Jika Islam Boleh, Kenapa Kristian Tidak Boleh”

Saya terkedu membaca sebuah artikel di portal berita Menara.my yang bertajuk, “Jika Islam Boleh, Kenapa Kistian Tidak Boleh – Pensyarah Universiti” di  mana “seorang pensyarah universiti tempatan pada Sabtu lalu mempersoalkan jika orang Islam boleh berdakwah kepada orang-orang Kristian, kenapakah orang Kristian tidak boleh berbuat perkara yang sama?”

Menurut Menara.my, persoalan tersebut telah diutarakan oleh Helen Ting yang merupakan  salah seorang felo utama di Institut Kajian Malaysia dan Antarabangsa (IKMAS), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia pada satu sesi soal jawab pada forum yang bertajuk “Deceitful? Distracting? Or Dedicated? Evangelicals and Current Controversies in Malaysia” anjuran Kairos Dialogue Network.

“If you think that it is okay to propagate your faith among Christians then, why is it that it is so wrong for Christians to do like that?”

~Helen Ting (Dipetik daripada Menara.my)

Orang bukan Islam dilarang berdakyah kepada orang Islam berdasarkan Perkara 11(4) Perlembagaan Persekutuan; Ting hanya membuatkan dirinya dilihat tidak cerdik apabila buat-buat tidak tahu atau memang tidak tahu tentang perkara asas ini.

Halangan ini diperkukuhkan lagi oleh Seksyen 298A Akta Kanun Keseksaan yang melarang perkara yang boleh menyebabkan perpecahan di antara kaum dan agama.

Perkara 11(4) Perlembagaan Persekutuan menegaskan:

Undang-undang Negeri dan berkenaan dengan WilayahWilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Labuan dan Putrajaya, undang-undang persekutuan boleh mengawal atau menyekat pengembangan apa-apa doktrin atau kepercayaan agama di kalangan orang yang menganuti agama Islam.

Menara.my seterusnya melaporkan bahawa felo utama IKMAS itu juga mempersoalkan “kalau Muslim rasa risau dengan kata-kata yang mahu mengadakan ‘Christian State’, bagaimana pula dengan perasaan bukan Islam yang mendengar ahli-ahli politik membincangkan tentang negara Islam dan sebagainya?”

Soalan ini tidak masuk akal dan amat dangkal sekali kerana  sebagai felo utama IKMAS, Helen Ting sepatutnya tidak keliru tentang ideologi negara.

Malaysia ialah sebuah negara Islam, dan negeri-negeri  yang membentuk Malaysia ini dahulunya adalah merupakan negara-negara kerajaan Melayu Islam yang berdaulat di bawah pemerintahan Raja-Raja Melayu masing-masing.

Jadi adalah tidak logik apabila Ting, sebagai seorang ahli akademik mahu menyamakan kebimbangan umat Islam bila negara Islam Malaysia mahu ditukarkan kepada Christian State yang tentunya mengancam kedaulatan negara dan mencabar kuasa Yang Di Pertuan Agong, dengan perasaan orang bukan Islam yang tidak suka bila disebut negara Islam Malaysia; walhal, Malaysia sememangnya sebuah negara Islam sejak dahulu lagi.

Perkara 3(1) Perlembagaan Persekutuan mengatakan:

“Islam ialah agama bagi Persekutuan; tetapi agama-agama lain boleh diamalkan dengan aman dan damai di mana-mana Bahagian Persekutuan.”

Di dalam penghakiman kes Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur v. Menteri Dalam Negeri and Kerajaan Malaysia di Mahkamah Rayuan, Hakim Mahkamah Persekutuan pada ketika itu, Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali telah menegaskan bahawa tujuan di masukkan kata-kata “dengan aman dan damai” ke dalam Perkara 3(1) adalah untuk melindungi kesucian Isalm sebagai agama negara dan juga untuk melindungi Islam daripada apa-apa ancaman yang dihadapi atau apa-apa kemungkinan dan kemungkinan ancaman terhadap agama Islam.

“It is my judgment that the purpose and intention of the insertion of the words: “in peace and harmony” in Article 3(1) is to protect the sanctity of Islam as the religion of the country and also to insulate against any threat faced or any possible and probable threat to the religion of Islam.”

Oleh itu amat jelas bahawa Malaysia ialah sebuah negara Islam, di mana agama Islam dilindungi oleh Perlembagaan; tetapi agama-agama lain boleh diamalkan selagi “aman dan damai” terhadap Islam dan tidak menimbulkan ancaman terhadap Islam iaitu agama negara.

Gesaan untuk membenarkan orang Kristian berdakyah kepada umat Islam dan niat untuk menukar Malaysia kepada sebuah Christian State bukan sahaja boleh menimbulkan ketegangan di antara agama, malah mempunyai kecenderungan mencabar dan menghalang Yang Di Pertuan Agong (sebagai Ketua Tertinggi Islam negara) daripada kedaulatan negara dan jika disabitkan kesalahan, boleh dihukum di bawah Seksyen-Seksyen berikut Akta Kanun Keseksaan Malaysia: 

  • Seksyen 121B  Akta Kanun Keseksaan
  • Seksyen 121C  Akta Kanun Keseksaan
  • Seksyen 121D  Akta Kanun Keseksaan
  • Seksyen 298A Akta Kanun Keseksaan

(Untuk keterangan lanjut tentang Seksyen-Seksyen 121B, 121C, 121D dan 298A, sila rujuk “Menjawab Dr. Ariffin Omar: Apa salahnya kalau Penang hendak dijadikan Christian city?”:

Kenyataan seterusnya oleh Ting yang dipetik Menara.my jelas menggambarkan sikap felo utama IKMAS itu yang gagal berpijak di bumi yang nyata dan telah mencabar Perlembagaan Persekutuan dengan merendahkan kedudukan agama Islam, seolah-olah kedudukan agama Islam di Tanah Air kita ini hanyalah setaraf dengan kedudukan agama-agama lain.

“For me, I feel this country is ours, everybody’s. There should not be a preference towards one religion.”

~Helen Ting (Dipetik daripada Menara.my)

Di dalam penghakiman kes Meor Atiqulrahman bin Ishak & Ors v Fatimah Sihi & Ors[2000]  1 MLJ 393, di Mahkamah Tinggi, hakim ketika itu, Tan Sri Mohd Noor Abdullah menegaskan:

Pada pendapat saya “Islam ialah ugama bagi Persekutuan tetapi ugama-ugama lain boleh diamalkan dengan aman dan damai” bermakna Islam adalah ugama utama di antara ugama-ugama lain yang dianuti di negara ini seperti Kristian, Buddha, Hindu dan selainnya. Islam bukan setaraf dengan ugama lain, bukan duduk berganding bahu atau berdiri sama tegak. Ia duduk di atas, ia berjalan dahulu, terletak di tempat medan dan suaranya lantang kedengaran. Islam ibarat pokok jati – tinggi, teguh dan terampil. Jika bukan sedemikian Islam bukanlah ugama bagi Persekutuan tetapi adalah salah satu di antara beberapa ugama yang dianuti di negara ini dan setiap orang sama-sama bebas mengamalkan manamana ugama yang dianutinya, tiada lebih satu dari yang lain.

Tingginya kedudukan Islam sebagai agama negara adalah jelas kerana hanya nama Islam  sahaja yang disebut, malah berkali-kali di dalam Perlembagaan,

Tiada nama agama-agama lain yang disebut di dalam Perlembagaan, agama-agama lain hanyalah dirujuk sebagai ‘agama-agama lain’.

Persekutuan Malaysia ini adalah sebuah negara Islam dan rakyat Malaysia yang taat dan sayangkan negaranya mesti patuh kepada undang-undang negara yang selama ini telah menyatukan rakyat Malaysia dan berjaya memelihara keamanan negara.

Seperti kata Aunty Prof. Dr Shamrahayu Abd Aziz, janganlah diruntuh rumah pusaka, yang saya rasa bermaksud, janganlah kita runtuhkan negara yang kita warisi ini kerana nantinya kita juga yang akan rugi dan menyesal; oleh itu kita mestilah memelihara dan menghargai keamanan negara yang telah kita warisi dari pengorbanan nenek moyang kita.

Helen Ting sebagai seorang pensyarah kanan universiti mestilah bersikap bertanggung jawab, bertindak dengan bijak dan apabila bercakap, mestilah berdasarkan fakta dan bukannya mengikut emosi dan persepsi.

Malangnya, terdapat ahli-ahli akademik yang bertindak memutar belitkan fakta untuk mencipta persepsi yang salah atau buruk terhadap suatu kebenaran demi mencapai tujuan tertentu.

 

“DAP Bukan Lagi Musuh Melayu”; Is Zam Okay?

Bekas Menteri Penerangan, Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin atau lebih dikenali sebagai Zam baru-baru ini menulis sebuah artikel di blognya, Zamkata, yang bertajuk “DAP BUKAN LAGI MUSUH MELAYU AKIBAT PEMESONGAN NASIONALISME UMNO”.

Artikel tersebut menunjukkan betapa setianya Tan Sri Zam kepada Tun Mahathir (Tun M) kerana demi mempertahankan pendirian Tun M, Zam sanggup menulis apa sahaja walaupun tulisan itu amat mengelirukan, tuduhan yang melulu tanpa fakta dan alasan yang amat dangkal dan tidak logik; semata-mata untuk memberi persepsi yang buruk kepada UMNO dan kerajaan.

Zam buat-buat tidak tahu bahawa parti DAP ialah sebuah parti yang menentang hak orang-orang Melayu dan raja-raja Melayu dan sentiasa mendesak supaya Perkara 153 Perlembagaan Persekutuan dihapuskan agar hilanglah hak istimewa orang Melayu di Tanah Melayu ini.

Di manakah logiknya bila Zam cuba menyamakan kesan hubungan “penanaman modal dari China atau kerjasama ekonomi Malaysia dengan Republik Rakyat China” dengan kesan kekuasaan politik parti DAP kepada orang Melayu?

Zam seterusnya menulis:

“Orang Melayu sekarang melihat UMNO sebagai menambah ancaman dan cabaran kepada mereka dibandingkan DAP yang semakin matang dalam melihat nilai-nilai politik yang diperlukan untuk kerjasama politik yang progresif, dinamik ,bersih dan cekap yang tidak lagi berasaskan politik perkauman dan sentimen keugamaan yang sempit.”

Nampaknya Zam menganggap penentangan keras DAP terhadap dasar-dasar Islam itu sebagai sikap “DAP yang semakin matang” dan “tidak lagi berasaskan politik perkauman dan sentimen keugamaan yang sempit”.

DAP bukan sahaja dengan biadapnya menentang pindaan Akta 355 yang dibuat untuk memperkasakan Mahkamah Syariah, malah Ahli Parlimen DAP Bukit Bendera mencadangkan supaya bidang kuasa Mahkamah Syariah yang diperuntukkan di bawah Perkara 121(1A) Perlembagaan Persekutuan itu ditarik balik.

Walaupun bidangkuasa Mahkamah Syariah hanya terpakai kepada orang Islam sahaja, namun DAPlah yang dengan lantang menentang dengan berbagai alasan yang tidak masuk akal termasuk, demi mempertahankan hak kebebasan umat Islam termasuk untuk murtad.

Di negeri yang mereka kuasai iaitu Pulau Pinang, mereka mahu seruan azan diperlahankan, seolah-olah Pulau Pinang kini  bukan lagi sebuah negeri Islam.

Pada mereka, hak asasi umat Islam hanyalah hak untuk bebas membuat dosa namun hak untuk hidup secara Islam yang sebenarnya dinafikan dan ditentang habis-habisan dengan berbagai alasan termasuk bersifat ekstrimis, rasis dan merbahayakan negara.

Malah telah ada pemimpin DAP yang berani berkata, “apa salahnya kalau Penang hendak dijadikan Christian City” walaupun kata-kata itu jelas mencabar kuasa Yang Di-Pertuan Agong sebagai Ketua bagi Agama Islam bagi Pulau Pinang dan seluruh Malaysia.

Begitu juga dengan pendedahan Dr. Kamarul Zaman tentang adanya agenda Kristian di sebalik penglibatan Hannah Yeoh sebagai ahli politik di Malaysia yang mana bersalahan dengan undang-undang negara ini.

Bencinya DAP kepada Islam sehinggakan mereka dengan sengaja menyalah tafsirkan Perkara 3(1) Perlembagaan Persekutuan dengan memfitnah bahawa Malaysia ini ialah sebuah negara sekular dengan Islam hanyalah sekadar agama rasmi sahaja.

Begitu juga dengan perlembagaan parti DAP yang dengan jelas bertentangan dengan Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

Jadi, bagaimana mungkin Zam boleh berpendapat bahawa hubungan ekonomi dengan China lebih merbahaya berbanding dengan memberikan kuasa politik kepada DAP yang hakikatnya dimonopoli oleh orang Cina yang tidak memghargai pengorbanan Raja-Raja Melayu dan mahu menghapuskan kontrak sosial yang telah dibuat dahulu?

Peliknya bila Zam menuduh “UMNO yang mahu menChinakan Malaysia menerusi penjajahan ekonominya” namun menutup mata bila lerajaan DAP Pulau Pinang cuba “menChinakan” Pulau Pinang dengan membawa masuk pelaburan dari China dan membanguinkan berbagai projek hartanah mewah yang dijual kepada rakyat dari negara China.

Juga menghairankan saya adalah, bagaimana Zam boleh menyalahkan kerajaan mengenai penjualan saham Proton kepada Geely, sebuah syarikat pembuat kereta China sedangkan Tun M dan bukannya PM Najib yang berada di dalam kumpulan yang telah merancang perkara ini dan telah terlibat dalam rundingan awal di antara Proton dan Geely.

“Orang Melayu bimbang perkongsian Proton Holding Berhad dengan pembuat kereta China, China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group akan membuka peluang pekerjaan kepada orang Cina dari China  di Proton yang selama ini eksklusif kepada orang Melayu.”

Dari tulisannya juga, nampaknya seperti dasar parti DAP, Zam juga mahukan negara ini mengamalkan “dasar sekularisme dan liberalisme” yang bertentangan dengan ajaran Islam, Perlembagaan dan undang-undang negara:

“Disamping itu orang bukan Melayu melihat perubahan dasar sekularisme dan liberalisme UMNO sejak permuafakatan politik dengan Pas untuk bersama menguasai negara ini. Pindaan Akta Mahkamah Syariah (Bidang Kuasa Jenayah atau Akta 355) menimbulkan prasangka buruk bukan Melayu terhadap matlamat UMNO…”

Terpengaruh dengan pendapat “Peguam-Peguam Islam yang terkemuka di negara ini” dari parti DAP seperti Zaid Ibrahim dan peguan liberal lain contohnya Siti Zabedah Kassim, Zam berpendapat bahawa, “Hukuman jenayah tidak seharusnya berbeza antara Melayu Islam dan bukan Islam”; seolah-olah Zam tidak tahu akan adanya sistem Mahkamah Syariah yang bidang kuasanya telah diperuntukkan melalui Perkara 121(1A) Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

“Peguam-Peguam Islam yang terkemuka di negara ini juga bimbang pindaan ini akan membawa kepada pencerobohan terhadap prinsip-prinsip asal perlembagaan negara yang mahu membina suatu bangsa atas nasionalisme Malaysia yang menolak dan perbezaan hukuman kaum di Malaysia termasuk orang Islam sendiri yang menyemai perasaan ketidakadilan dari segi perlembagaan.”

Nampaknya Zam yang kurang memahami Perlembagaan Persekutuan merasakan PAS lebih merbahaya daripada DAP kepada orang Melayu.

“PAS yang belum pun berada dalam kerajaan telah berjaya mempergunakan UMNO untuk menggugat kesucian Perlembagaan Negara menerusi Parlimen dengan mengambil kesempatan di atas kelemahan UMNO dan pucuk pimpinannya.”

Lebih memeningkan lagi ialah, setelah menuduh, “UMNO yang mahu menChinakan Malaysia menerusi penjajahan ekonominya” Tan Sri Zam memulis:

“Orang Melayu tidak menolak penanaman modal dari China kerana kesesatan dari nasionalisme atau misguided nasionalism tetapi kerana kehilangan keyakinan mereka terhadap nasionalimse UMNO yang terpesong dari dasar asalnya dan juga dari Perlembagaan Negara .”

Saya tidak faham apakah Zam merasakan pelaburan modal dari China ini memberi kesan yang baik atau buruk kepada orang Melayu; adakah kesannya buruk bila modal China dibawa masuk oleh UMNO dan kesannya baik jika dibawa masuk oleh pihak lain contohnya DAP dan Tun M?

Dan apakah maksud “nasionalimse UMNO yang terpesong dari dasar asalnya dan juga dari Perlembagaan Negara”?

Jika Zam maksudkan pemerkasaan dasar Islam dan usaha UMNO untuk memperbetulkan penafsiran Perkara 3(1) Perlembagaan Persekutuan bahawa Islam adalah agama bagi Persekutuan dan bukannya hanya sekadar agama rasmi seperti yang di salah tafsirkah oleh DAP sebagai ” terpesong dari dasar asalnya dan juga dari Perlembagaan Negara”, maka patutlah beliau merasakan “DAP bukan lagi musuh orang Melayu”, bak kata pepatah Inggeris, “Birds of a feather flock together”.

Tidak dapat dinafikan bahawa DAP dan parti-part sekutunya seperti PKR, PAN dan PPBM merupakan ancaman terhadap kedaulatan Islam di Malaysia dan itulah yang menjadikan DAP sebagai musuh yang amat nyata kepada orang Melayu, walaupun Zam menafikannya dengan sepenuh hati.

Related Posts:

Menjawab Dr. Ariffin Omar: Apa salahnya kalau Penang hendak dijadikan Christian city?

DAP’s senator, Dr. Ariffin Omar’s arrogant statement in the Dewan Negara on the 19th of April 2017 saying, “Apa salahnya kalau Penang hendak dijadikan Christian city” had enraged many Muslims.

It seems that the idea of turning Penang into a Christian city is alright to Arrifin, who is also the vice-chairman of DAP, as what he said in the Dewan Negara:

The DAP leader may think that with the power that DAP now has over Penang, DAP leaders can do anything, even interfering in the matters related to Islam.

Is this DAP’s good governance is all about?

The main issue here is, has the DAP man forgotten that in the Article 3(3) of the Federal Constitution, it is clearly written that the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong is the Head of the religion of Islam in Pulau Pinang?

The Constitution of the States of Malacca, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak shall each make provision for conferring on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong the position of Head of the religion of Islam in that State.

The DAP man must understand that it is the constitutional duty of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong to “at all time protect the Religion of Islam”, as stated in the oath of office of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, or the Article 37(1); the text is written in Part I and III of the Fourth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

And the Article 32(1) states that the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong is the Supreme Head of the Federation.

Although the state of Penang is now ruled by DAP, the Supreme Head of Penang is still the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong and not a DAP leader; hence the power of the Penang state government is not above the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, especially in matters related to  the sovereignty of the state.

Having said that, Dr. Ariffin Omar’s arrogant statement is not merely rude but also offensive and might has the tendency to challenge and to deprive the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong from the sovereignty of Penang.

The Section 121B of the Penal Code says that anyone whoever compasses, imagines, invents or intends the deposition or deprivation of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong from the sovereignty of Malaysia shall be punished with imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine.

And the Section 121C(1) of the same Act says that whoever abets the commission of any of the offences punishable by section 121A or 121B shall be punished with the punishment provided for the said offences while the Section 121D(1) says that whoever knowing or having reason to believe that any offence punishable under section 121, 121A, 121B or 121C has been committed intentionally omits to give any information respecting that offence,which he is legally bound to give, shall be punished with imprisonmentfor a term which may extend to seven years or with fine or with both.

Dr. Ariffin’s offensive statement had enraged the Muslim, causing the feeling of enmity and hatred that can bring to the sate of disharmony or disunity on grounds of religion not only in Penang but also in the whole country.

The Section 298A(1) of the Penal Code states that whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by signs,or by visible representations, or by any act, activity or conduct, or by organizing, promoting or arranging, or assisting in organizing, promoting or arranging, any activity, or otherwise in any other
manner—
(a) causes, or attempts to cause, or is likely to cause disharmony, disunity, or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill will; or
(b) prejudices, or attempts to prejudice, or is likely to prejudice, the maintenance of harmony or unity,
on grounds of religion, between persons or groups of persons professing the same or different religions, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of not less than two years and not more than five years.

It is a fundamental rule for lawmakers to understand the Supreme law of the land.

Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution states that:

Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions maybe practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.

The then Federal Court Judge, Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali in the Court of Appeal’s judgement of the case, Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur v. Menteri Dalam Negeri and Kerajaan Malaysia interpreted in peace and harmony” as:

It is my judgment that the purpose and intention of the insertion of the words: “in peace and harmony” in Article 3(1) is to protect the sanctity of Islam as the religion of the country and also to insulate against any threat faced or any possible and probable threat to the religion of Islam.

In the same judgment, Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali also states:

Any such disruption of the even tempo is contrary to the hope and desire of peaceful and harmonious co-existence of other religions other than Islam in this country.

Lawmakers must remember that Malaysia is governed by our rule of law and we are not a lawless country that practices absolute freedom.

Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali in the above ruling also stated:

The alleged infringement of the fundamental liberties of the respondent can be negated by trite law that any freedom is not absolute. Freedom cannot be unfettered, otherwise, like absolute power, it can lead to chaos and anarchy. Freedom of speech and expression under Article 10(1) are subjected to restrictions imposed by law under Article 10(2)(a). Freedom of religion, under Article 11(1), as explained above is subjected to Article 11(4) and is to be read with Article 3(1).

Related Posts:

Laporan Polis Terhadap Dr. Ariffin Omar oleh MUAFAKAT

Pertubuhan Muafakat Sejahtra Masyarakat Malaysia (MUAFAKAT) telah membuat sebuah laporan polis terhadap senator DAP, Dr. Ariffin Omar di balai polis Hulu Kelang, Ampang Jaya tengah hari tadi.

Laporan polis itu dibuat kerana Dr. Ariffin Omar pada 19hb April 2017 telah membuat kenyataan mengatakan bahawa “apa salahnya kalau Penang hendak dijadikan Christian city” sewaktu perbahasan di Dewan Negara.

The Constitutionally Illiterate Tawfik Tun Dr Ismail

In a FMT’s article, “Did Zahid call Malaysia an Islamic state?” Tawfik attacks the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for calling Malaysia an Islamic state; because according to Tawfik, Malaysia is a secular country with Islam only as its official religion. 

That makes me wonder if Tawfik Ismail, who Free Malaysia Today (FMT) referred as “a prominent opponent of theocratic governance”, has ever read the Federal Constitution or understands the definition of the word secular.

A member of a liberal group called G25, Tawfik had made uncalled statements before such as urging JAKIM to be abolished.

Below are my answers (in blue) to Tawfik’s statements (in red) as published by FMT.


PETALING JAYA: A prominent opponent of theocratic governance, Tawfik Ismail, has questioned whether Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was calling the country an Islamic state during a recent breaking of fast gathering in Alor Setar.

He said Zahid would be wrong if it was true that he rejected the notion that Malaysia was a secular state.

Contrary to Tawfik’s accusation, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is right by calling the country an Islamic state and rejected the notion that Malaysia is or was a secular state. It is Tawfik who is constitutionally illiterate for rejecting the notion that Malaysia is an Islamic state and instead, claiming that our country is a secular state.

He was referring to a Bernama report that quoted the deputy prime minister as saying that those who claimed this country was secular should first have a look at the Federal Constitution. He said the constitution placed Islam as the official religion and referred to the country as a Muslim country.

I wonder if Bernama made a mistake in reporting when it wrote that the Deputy Prime Minister says, “the Constitution placed Islam as the official religion” because Berita Harian quoted Zahid saying that the Constitution states that Islam is the religion of the Federation. The Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia says:

Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.

Please note that the Constitutions says “Islam is the religion of the Federation and not ‘the official religion’. Adding the word “official” is a slender to the federal Constitution as it distorts the notion of the Article 3(1).

“It would be more accurate to call the country a Muslim-majority country. That would be factual,” Tawfik told FMT.

It is factual that Malaysia is an Islamic country, and also a Muslim-majority country. 

“The constitution and the doctrine of separation of powers, the sultans’ role as heads of religion in their respective states, the notion of equality under the law, the right of everyone to stand for public office regardless of race or religion all guarantee that Malaysia is a secular country.”

Tawfik’s problem is, he does not understand the definition of a secularism which means the separation of religion and state. His above statement does not define a secular country. 

Tawfik, who is a former Umno member and one-term MP of Sungai Benut, said Islam’s position as the country’s official religion gave little support to the argument that the country wasn’t secular.

Tawfik must first read the Federal Constitution before making any statement regarding the Federal Constitution. The Federal Constitution, in Article 3(1) enshrines Islam as the religion of the Federation and not as the official religion of our nation. 

“I think it means the sovereign or king is Muslim and therefore Islam is considered the official religion, just like the Queen in England is head of the church.

Tawfik must first study the Federal Constitution before talking about constitutional issues.

“You could say ours is a hybrid system because we have many races practising many religions allowed under the constitution. Just because the majority of Malaysians are Malays and Malays are defined under the constitution as Muslims, making Islam the dominant religion, it doesn’t dominate other faiths.”

In the High Court decision of the case, Meor Atiqulrahman bin Ishak & Ors v Fatimah Sihi & Ors[2000]  1 MLJ 393, the then Justice Mohd Noor Abdullah had clearly clarified that the Federal Constitution has provided that other religions have no equal standing as Islam:

In my opinion, “Islam is the religion of the Federation but other religions may be practied in peace and harmony” means that Islam is the main religion among other religions that are practied in the country such as Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and others. Islam is not equal to any other religion, not sitting together or stand upright. It sits on top, he walked past, located in the field and his voice heard. Islam is like teak trees – tall, strong and skilled. If not so Islam is not the religion of the Federation but is one among several religions practised in the country and everyone is equally free to practice any religion he professes, no more one than the other. Provisions ‘Islam is the religion of the Federation’ shall be defined and reviewed with the objective to read other provisions of the Constitution, especially Article 89, 152, 153 and 14.

Bebas spokesperson Azrul Khalib also spoke on the matter, agreeing that the constitution did not put Islam in a position to dominate other religions.

Since when does a Bebas or any NGO leader is given the rights to redefine and reinterpret the supreme law of our country? It is a mind-blowing to see FMT using just a mere opinion of an NGO leader who is not even a constitutional expert to define the Federal Constitution.

“It’s important to realise that nowhere does the constitution ever intend for the country to be an Islamic state,” he told FMT.

The Malay rulers as the stakeholders of the Federation have never intent for the country to become a secular state. In fact the word secular or anything related to secularism is not even mentioned in the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

In the conclusion of the judgement of ZI Publications Sdn Bhd and Another v Kerajaan Negeri Selangor, where The Right Honourable Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif said that:

”Taking the Federal Constitution as a whole, it is clear that it was the intention of the framers of our Constitution to allow Muslims in this country to be also governed by Islamic personal law”.

And to further prove that Malaysia was meant to be an Islamic state and not a secular state, the Federal Constitution has Articles such as Article 11(4), Article 12(2), Article 37, Article 121(1A), and more.

“At the end of the day, it needs to be emphasised that the position of Islam as the official religion of the federation should not be a reference or a tool to bludgeon people of other religions into submitting to Islam.”

Islam is the religion of the Federation. Only constitutionally illiterate people think that Islam is the official religion of the federation; so there is no such thing as “using the position of Islam as the official religion of the federation should not be a reference or a tool to bludgeon people of other religions into submitting to Islam.”

He said that as much as it was important to look at the constitution to see that the country was a secular state, people should also look at court rulings affirming this.

The Federal Constitution has never said that Malaysia is a secular country. In fact, it is the government’s constitutional duty to protect the sanctity of Islam which is in itself denies that Malaysia is a secular country. This is proven by the Court of Appeal judgement of Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur v. Kerajaan Malaysia & Menteri Dalam Negeri, when YA Dato’ Abdul Aziz Rahim said:

I would add however that the position of Islam as the religion of the Federation, to my mind imposes certain obligation on the power that be to promote and defend Islam as well to protect its sanctity. In one article written by Muhammad Imam, entitled Freedom of Religion under Federal Constitution of Malaysia – A Reappraisal [1994] 2 CLJ lvii (June) referred to by the learned counsel for the 8th appellant it was said that: “Article 3 is not a mere declaration. But it imposes positive obligation on the Federation to protect, defend, promote Islam and to give effect by appropriate state action, to the injunction of Islam and able to facilitate and encourage people to hold their life according to the Islamic injunction spiritual and daily life.”

In the Federal Court judgement of ZI Publications Sdn Bhd and Another v Kerajaan Negeri Selangor, The Right Honourable Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif said:

“Thus, in the present case, we are of the view that Article 10 of the Federal Constitution must be read in particular with Articles 3(1), 11, 74(2) and 121. Article 3(1) declares Islam as the religion of the Federation. Article 11 guarantees every person’s right to profess and practise his religion and to propagate it. With regard to propagation, there is a limitation imposed by Article 11(4) which reads:-

“(4) State Law and in respect of the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya, federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.”

In a secular state, the government has no constitutional duty to protect the sanctity of a particular religion.

“The supremacy of secular law in Malaysia was upheld in 1988 in the Supreme Court case of Che Omar bin Che Soh vs Public Prosecutor in which the Supreme Court rejected the argument that the death penalty for drug trafficking was unconstitutional for offending the principles of Islam,” he said.

“The court said Article 3 of the Federal Constitution recognises Islam as the religion of the federation but it does not allude to Malaysia being an Islamic state, confirming that the country is secular.

This is another lame argument used by people who are trying to spin the fact that Malaysia is an Islamic state. In the judgement of the case Che Omar bin Che Soh v. Public Prosecutor, Tun Salleh Abas has never said that Malaysia is a secular state; alas he only said that Malaysia still uses the secular laws.

Today, there are other new judgments of more important cases that clearly state that Malaysia is an Islamic state such as Meor Atiqulrahman bin Ishak & Ors v Fatimah Sihi & Ors[2000]  1 MLJ 393, Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur v. Kerajaan Malaysia & Menteri Dalam Negeri,  ZI Publications Sdn Bhd and Another v Kerajaan Negeri Selangor and others.

“We need to remember the second part of Article 3, which reads ‘Islam is the religion of the federation, but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the federation.’ Therefore, Article 3 should not be used to impose dominance on non-Muslims or insist on religious superiority.”

The words “in peace and harmony” have been interpreted by the then Federal Court Judge, Tan Sri Apandi Ali during the judgement of the Court of Appeal case of Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur v. Menteri Dalam Negeri & Kerajaan Malaysia. His words were:

It is my judgment that the purpose and intention of the insertion of the words: “in peace and harmony” in Article 3(1) is to protect the sanctity of Islam as the religion of the country and also to insulate against any threat faced or any possible and probable threat to the religion of Islam.

Related Post:

Human Rights in Relation to the Federal Constitution of Malaysia – Part 2

Continuation of Part I…

The same goes for the Convention on the Rights of the Child or CRC. Article 14 of CRC gives the rights to each child to choose his or her own belief or religion. This Article cannot be implemented on children born to Muslim parents, for it is against the teaching of Islam, hence against the Articles 3(1), 38, 76 and 159(5).

Article 14 of CRC states:

States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

It is also important to note that Article 15 of CRC contradicts the Section 4(1)(e) of the Peaceful Assembly Act of Malaysia; which brings the question if the UNHRC can overrule the law of a sovereign country. Article 15 of the CRC allows children to participate in peaceful assemblies while the Section 4(1)(e) of the Peaceful Assembly Act of Malaysia restricted children from participating in peaceful assemblies.

Article 15 of the CRC:

States Parties recognize the rights of the child to freedom of association and to freedom of peaceful assembly.

Section 4(1)(e) of the Peaceful Assembly Act of Malaysia:

The right to organize an assembly or participate in an assembly peaceably and without arms under this Act shall not extend as following – in relation to the participation in an assembly other than an assembly specified in the Second Schedule, a child.

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) that gives the rights to the LGBTIQ people, is against not only the teaching of Islam but also the teaching of other main religions recognised by our nation. Therefore, the rights of LGBTIQ people is unconstitutional in Malaysia. In Malaysia, the laws that concerns the Muslims must be subjected to the Islamic law as stated in the conclusion of the judgement of ZI Publications Sdn Bhd and Another v Kerajaan Negeri Selangor, where The Right Honourable Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif said that:

”Taking the Federal Constitution as a whole, it is clear that it was the intention of the framers of our Constitution to allow Muslims in this country to be also governed by Islamic personal law”.

ICERD or International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination is against the Article 153 of the FC; hence, it is another violation to our FC. In the name of human rights, the UNHRC is forcing the government of Malaysia to abolish the Article 153 without respecting the fact that this Article is actually an important part of our Social Contract. The Article was drafted as a guarantee to save guard the rights of the Malays and the Bumiputras, in return to the citizenship given to the non-citizen Chinese and Indian immigrants during the forming of Malaya.

More importantly, ICERD is a violation to the racial harmony of the people of Malaysia as Article 153 is the Article that protects the human rights of each and every citizen of Malaysia as agreed by our great forefathers. That makes, Article 153 as one of the four sensitive issues that cannot be questioned according to Article 10(4) of our FC:

In imposing restrictions in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof or public order under paragraph (a) of Clause (2), Parliament may pass law prohibiting the questioning of any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative established or protected by the provisions of Part III, Article 152, 153 or 181 otherwise than in relation to the implementation thereof as may be specified in such law.

Even questioning any of the four sensitive issues is punishable under the Section 3(1)(f) of the Sedition Act of Malaysia; what more the calls for it to be abolished as ordered by the UNHRC.

Section 3(1)(f) of the Sedition Act of Malaysia:

A “seditious tendency” is a tendency — to question any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative established or protected by the provisions of Part III of the Federal Constitution or Article 152, 153 or 181 of the Federal Constitution.

Human rights regulations must be subjected to the principles of the Member States and not the other way around. Islam is the religion of Malaysia, while in Argentina, Roman Catholic is its official religion. Other countries like the USA are secular countries. The basic principles of the countries make huge differences in their state laws and constitutions. As the fundamental rights and aspirations of the people are different, the human rights regulations as the UNHRC conventions cannot be standardized; but must be adapted to the needs of the people in its Member States as stated in Part I, Para 5 of Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action 1993.

In the FC of Malaysia, Islam as the Religion of the Federation is written in Article 3(1); which is positioned higher than “Freedom of Speech and Expression” that is placed in Article 10, in the Part II of the FC. Article 1 of the FC explains the name of our country, the name of the states and the territories of the Federation, while Article 2 is about the admission of new territories into the Federation. That proves freedom of speech and expression in Malaysia must be harmonious with the principals of Islam. In the Court of Appeal’s ruling for the case of Kalimah Allah, the then Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Mohamed Apandi Ali said:

[31] It is my observation that the words “in peace and harmony” in Article 3(1) has a historical background and dimension, to the effect that those words are not without significance. The Article places the religion of Islam at par with the other basic structures of the Constitution, as it is the 3 rd in the order of precedence of the Articles that were within the confines of Part I of the Constitution. It is pertinent to note that the fundamental liberties Articles were grouped together subsequently under Part II of the Constitution.

So, in order to ensure the rights of all members of the human family which is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace, UNHRC must note that:

  1. Recognition of the inherent dignity of human rights must be as according to Part I, Para 5 of Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action 1993.
  2. Stop bullying Member States into submitting to the rules that contradict the values and fundamental needs and rights of their people.
  3. Acknowledged the aspirations and the rights of all peoples; not only the people with liberal ideology or selective people from selective Member States.
  4. UNHRC must respect the rules of law of its Member States as they are sovereign countries; therefore the UNHRC conventions cannot overrule the constitutions and laws of the Member States.
  5. Equality is not always fair. UNHRC must also focus equity.
  6. UNHRC must also take actions on Western countries where human rights of the minorities such as Muslims are not being respected.
  7. Protect the rights of children as granted in CRC in conflict areas and war zones.
  8. UNHRC as the world body promoting fair and peace, must be professional in acknowledging stake holders of its Member States in the process of Universal Periodic Review (UPR). It is a disgrace for the United Nations to recognise an illegal coalition like COMANGO that represented only a minority voice of Malaysian, as the main stakeholder; and their baseless and malicious allegations are accepted as concrete proves in deeming the standard of human rights in Malaysia.