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
(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).
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I see the case of ZI Publications Sdn Bhd and Another v Kerajaan Negeri Selangor as like looking at a case of ‘Article 10(1) of the Federal Constitution v Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution’ or ‘Freedom of speech v Religion of the Federation.’
A Muslim named Mohd Ezra bin Mohd Zaid was charged before the Syariah Court of Selangor for publishing a book which is contrary to Islamic law.
The petitioners, ZI Publications Sdn Bhd (first petitioner) and Mohd Ezra bin Mohd Zaid (second petitioner) were seeking for a declaration that section 16 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Selangor) Enactment 1995 is invalid.
Ezra fought that according to the Federal Constitution, the Selangor State Legislative Assembly has no power to legislate a law that “has the effect of restricting and/or has the potential to restrict freedom of expression” as stated in Article 10.
The book, “Allah, Kebebasan, Dan Cinta”, a Malay translation of, “Allah, Liberty, and Love” is written by Irshad Manji, a person who does not understand Islam, and her interpretations of Islam and the Islamic law is contrary to the teaching of Islam.
The Federal court ruled in a unanimous decision that the section 16 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Selangor) is valid and not ultra vires the Federal Constitution.
In his judgment, President of the Court of Appeal 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.””
So, it is very clear that Article 10 must be read harmoniously with Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution since Article 3 is placed in Part I, while Article 10 was placed in Part II of the Federal Constitution.
Logically, the Articles that are placed in Part I should be of more importance than the ones in Part II.
In his conclusion Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif said:
Federal Constitution allows the Legislature of a State to legislate and enact offences against the precepts of Islam. 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.
The question is, why must a Muslim publishes a book containing deviant teachings and took a state government to court for protecting other Muslims from the deviant teaching (from the book) as conferred by the Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution?
Article 3(1): Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.
Article 74(2): Without prejudice to any power to make laws conferred on it by any other Article, the Legislature of a State may make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in the State List (that is to say, the Second List set out in the Ninth Schedule) or the Concurrent List.
Article 121(1a): The courts referred to in Clause (1) shall have no jurisdiction in respect of any matter within the jurisdiction of the Syariah courts.
Malay Mail Online (MMO) columnist, Boo Su Lyn wrote a seditious article, “Abolish Federal Constitution’s Article 11(4)” last Friday, October 2, 2015. (Please click here for the article)
Anyway on October 7, MMO retracted the seditious article and wrote that it apologises “to anyone who may have been offended by it”.
It is very interesting to see that MMO retracted the article a day after the ruling by the Federal Court on the case of Azmi Sharom challenging the constitutionality of the Sedition Act.
Any way MMO is defending the writer:
“The writer wishes to point out that she is aware of the sensitivities in Malaysia regarding the topic of religion. She has no intention of insulting Islam.”
I do not understand how could MMO wrote that the writer has no intention of insulting Islam.
In the article which was deleted by MMO on October 7, not only did the writer insult Islam but she took the liberty to interpret the Islamic law in her own way when she is not even a Muslim.
“In Ezra Zaid’s case, Muslims, like other Malaysians, may have freedom of expression, but there are a string of state laws, as empowered by Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution, that do not allow Muslims to publish books that are deemed unIslamic.” – MMO.
By saying that “there are a string of state laws, as empowered by Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution, that do not allow Muslims to publish books that are deemed unIslamic”, she is questioning the decision made by MAIWP and JAIS as the religious authorities that Irshad Manji’s Allah, Liberty and Love is contrary to the Islamic law.
The writer also wrote:
“Who decides whether a particular book is “unIslamic”? That would be the state religious departments.” – MMO.
What right has a person of another religion to question and interfere in matters regarding Islam, the religion of the Federation?
Of course, it must be the Islamic religious departments that decide on matters regarding Islam and not a person of another religion like the writer.
Boo Su Lyn also wrote that:
“It’s unclear if the Selangor Islamic Religious Department or the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department (in Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz’s case involving the same book), had actually read Allah, Liberty and Love, or if the religious authorities merely opposed the book simply because the Canadian author Manji is a lesbian.”- MMO.
What a malicious statement!
Is Boo Su Lyn saying that she understands Islam better than MAIWP and JAIS and that the Islamic authorities are unprofessional in doing their duties?
Furthermore, is the writer trying to violate the Article 11(3)(a) of the Federal Constitution by interfering into the rights of the Muslim authorities to manage its own religious affairs?
Article 11(3)(a) states:
Every religious group has the right— to manage its own religious affairs
In its Apology and Retraction article, MMO did not even mention that Boo Su Lyn made a public statement against Section 3(1)(f) of the Sedition Act which restricts anyone to question the four sensitive issues of the Federal Constitution.
Boo Su Lyn wrote that Article 10(4) that prohibits a person from questioning Part III (citizenship), Article 152 (national language), Article 153 (special position of the Malays and of Sabah and Sarawak natives) and Article 181 (rulers’ sovereignty) should also be abolished so that there can be public discussion on what she wrote as “these so-called “sensitive” issues.”
“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.”
She even questions Article 153 that against Section 3(1)(f) of the Sedition Act by writing:
“It also allows state-sanctioned discrimination against minority groups, with no avenue for victims to seek redress as they’re not even supposed to question the so-called “sensitive” matter of Malay privileges.” – MMO.
Apart from condemning and calling for the Article 10(4) to be abolished, Boo Su Lyn did the same to the Article 11(4) when it has nothing to do with her and the fact that she has no rights to interfere in the matters of Islam (Article 11(3)(a)).
What is her intention to ask for the Article that protects Islam, the Religion of the Federation as stated in the Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia to be abolished?
Without Article 11(4), the Rulers cannot ‘restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam’.
“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.”
By calling for the Article 11(4) to be abolished, Boo Su Lyn is also challenging the Article 3(1) for disrupting “peace and harmony” of the relationship between the Muslims and people practicing other religions.
A very senior lawyer, Professor Dato’ Naser Disa explains that the words, “other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation” means that people from other religions must practise their religions in peace and harmony with others from different religions especially Islam, which is the religion of the Federation of Malaysia.
In the ruling of the case of Kalimah Allah, the Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Mohamed Apandi Ali wrote that:
“It is my judgment that the purpose and intention of the 29 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. . It is also my judgment that the most possible and probable threat to Islam, in the context of this country, is the propagation of other religion to the followers of Islam. That is the very reason as to why Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution came into place.”
It is unconstitutional for Boo Su Lyn to write untrue and seditious statements about Articles 10(4) and 11(4) to justify her call for the Articles to be removed and a person who questions the four sensitive issues mentioned under Article 10(4) can be charged under Section 3(1)(f) of the Sedition Act.
However, regarding the malicious article, MMO wrote:
“Malay Mail Online also has no intention of insulting Islam or any religion, and is withdrawing the said article and apologising in the hopes of avoiding any such perception.”
So, we can clearly see that:
MMO does not think that the seditious and malicious content of article is wrong.
It is not wrong for a non-Muslims to take the liberty to interpret Islam the way they wish and to interfere in the Islamic matters.
It is not seditious to question Article 153 and the other sensitive issues protected by Article 10(4) .
MMO did not apologise and withdrawing the article because it is wrong and seditious.
MMO took the action only because, “in the hopes of avoiding any such perception.”
MMO is actually supporting Boo Su Lyn’s article that maliciously insulting Islam and the Islamic authorities and condemning Article 10(4), and saying that she is right.
It is the readers with “such perception” who wrongly think that the article insults Islam.
My conclusion is, MMO and the writer find there is nothing wrong with the article that not only insult and humiliate Islam but has gone against Articles 3(1), 10(4), 11(3)(a), 11(4) and 153 of the Federal Constitution and Section 3(1)(f) of the Sedition Act.
The Sedition Act must be used to stop people from challenging the law and the Federal Constitution and to protect the peace and harmony of our beloved country.
The Malaysia Insider reported that a “group of retired Malay civil servants of G25 against religious extremism plans to seek an audience with the Malay rulers to petition for a committee that will review the application of Islam in Malaysian law.”
G25 wrote an open letter (please click here for the open letter) dated December 7, 2014 among others expressed that they are disturbed and deeply dismayed “over the continuing unresolved disputes on the position and application of Islamic laws in this country” and stated that “the teachings of our faith must continue to evolve” to be relevant.
They wrote that:
“The on-going debate over these matters display a lack of clarity and understanding on the place of Islam within our constitutional democracy.”
Actually, there should not be any question about the place of Islam within our constitution because it is clearly stated in Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia that Islam is the religion of the Federation and the oath pledged by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as in accordance to Article 37(1) is made in the name of Allah, “Wallahi Wabillahi Watallahi” and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong pledges to uphold Islam at all time.
Article 3(1) said that:
“Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.”
Article 37(1) stated that the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong needs to take his oath before exercising his functions:
“The Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall before exercising his functions take and subscribe before the Conference of Rulers and in the presence of the Chief Justice of the Federal Court (or in his absence the next senior judge of the Federal Court available) the oath of office set out in Part I of the Fourth Schedule; and the oath shall be attested by two persons appointed for the purpose by the Conference of Rulers.”
The oath pledged by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong:
“Wallahi: Wabillahi: Watallahi,
Maka dengan lafaz ini berikrarlah Kami dengan sesungguhnya dan dengan sebenarnya mengaku akan taat setia pada menjalankan dengan adilnya pemerintahan bagi Malaysia dengan mengikut sebagaimana undang-undang dan Perlembagaan yang telah disahkan dan dimasyurkan dan akan disah dan dimasyurkan di masa hadapan ini. Dan lagi Kami berikrar mengaku dengan sesungguh dan dengan sebenarnya memeliharakan pada setiap masa Agama Islam dan berdiri tetap di atas permintaan yang adil dan aman di dalam Negeri.”
G25 also wrote:
“We refer specifically to the current situation where religious bodies seem to be asserting authority beyond their jurisdiction; where issuance of various fatwa violate the Federal Constitution and breach the democratic and consultative process of shura; where the rise of supremacist NGOs accusing dissenting voices of being anti-Islam, anti-monarchy and anti-Malay has made attempts at rational discussion and conflict resolution difficult; and most importantly, where the use of the Sedition Act hangs as a constant threat to silence anyone with a contrary opinion. These developments undermine Malaysia’s commitment to democratic principles and rule of law, breed intlerance and bigotry, and have heightened anxieties over national peace and stability.”
Contrary to the accusation made by G25, the religious bodies are not “asserting authority beyond their jurisdiction“, but they are doing their job to uphold Islam as the religion of the Federation as stated under Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution.
“…the rise of supremacist NGOs accusing dissenting voices of being anti-Islam, anti-monarchy and anti-Malay has made attempts at rational discussion and conflict resolution difficult…” – G25
From the above statement I guess the NGOs that G25 called supremacist are the Malay and Islamic NGOs who are fighting to uphold Islam which is the religion of the Federation as written in Article 3(1) and protecting the rights of the Malays as written in Article 153 of the Federal Constitution.
I just wonder why the Malays of G25 are so disturbed by people fighting for Islam and the rights of the Malays?
And why is G25 quiet when liberal NGOs like COMANGO questioned, humiliated and challenged Islam, the Malays rights and our Rulers?
Does G25 think that it is constitutional when people like Lim Kit Siang, Eric Paulsen and Tony Pua humiliate and slender Islam, the Friday Sermon and JAKIM?
What about some illegal coalition of NGOs such as BERSIH who went against the law by organising illegal street demonstrations, with the hope to topple a democratically elected government?
G25 also attacked Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom for doing his job as the minister in charge of the Islamic affairs:
“…we are particularly concerned with the statement issued by Minister Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, in response to the recent Court of Appeal judgement on the right of transgendered women to dress according to their identity.”
Calling the Sedition Act as a tool to silence the voices with a contrary opinion shows that one does not understand the Sedition Act.
According to Tan Sri Aziz Abdul Rahman, (please refer to this article) the Sedition Act or Akta Hasutan was written after the government identified four serious issues as one of the major causes of the serious 1969 racial riot:
- Article 153 of the Federal Constitution: Special Rights For The Malays
- Article 152 of the Federal Constitution: Malay As The National Language
- Part III: of the Citizenship Rights
- Article 181 of the Federal Constitution: Rights, Status, Sovereignty Of The Rulers
I just do not understand why G25 members want the four sensitive issues to be questioned when open debates on the four issues could actually “heightened anxieties over national peace and stability.”
The G25 further wrote:
“The Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the land and any law enacted, including Islamic laws, cannot violate the Constitution, in particular the provisions on fundamental liberties, federal-state division of powers and legislative procedures”
How could the Islamic laws violate the Federal Constitution when Islam is the religion of the Federation as stated in Article 3(1) of the the Federal Constitution?
In the ruling of the Court of Appeal’s three-member panel led by Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Mohamed Apandi Ali on the Kalimah Allah case:
 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.
And in the case of Ramah v Laton, it has been decided that the Islamic laws are the laws of the land, so it does not violate the Federal Constitution.
G25 then wrote:
“It is our fervent belief that for Islam to continue to be relevant and universal in our times, the understanding, codification and implementation of the teachings of our faith must continue to evolve.”
We have to follow the real teaching of Islam. We are the Muslims of Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah from the Shafie school of thought or madhhab, so this is the guideline followed by our Islamic authorities.
The true teaching of Islam is always relevant, therefore it must never be evolved or liberalised by anybody.
The Malaysian Insider(TMI) reported that, “Bar Council constitutional law committee chairperson Firdaus Husni said the current framework of Malaysia’s Federal Constitution did not allow for hudud implementation, based on several articles.”
According to TMI, the articles are Articles 7, 8 and 3 of the Federal Constitution.
It puzzles me when Firdaus Husni said that, “hudud could also be challenged using Article 3, which stated that Islam was the religion of the federation”; when hudud is a part of Islam and not against the religion of the Federation.
Article 3(1) says:
“Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation”.