Tag Archives: Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy

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.

Human Rights in Relation to the Federal Constitution of Malaysia – Part 1

Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (CENTHRA) hosted an essay contest in 2015. I wanted to take part but I was not allowed because the age limit was from 18 years old and above. I was twelve at the time but I still wrote an essay on the topic given, and sent it to CENTHRA  as my submission for the contest even though I was told that I cannot take part because I was too young. I think young people like me must also be given the chance to voice out our opinions and not to be considered as immature. We also have our rights as granted by the Federal Constitution and the Convention of the Rights of the Child and we hope to be given the opportunity to be included in making the decision for the future of our country.


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was drafted as the result of the Second World War experience. It was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December, 1948 General Assembly resolution 217 A as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations.

Generally when people talk about human rights, they will be referring to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) “common standard law of human rights” that was drafted by a group of people who subscribed to the ideology of liberalism.

The question is, is it fair to use the UDHR as the universal standard human rights law for all peoples from all nations in this world?

The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action 1993 states the human rights regulations must take into account, the religions, customs and cultural systems of the region. In other words, the human rights of the people must be subjected to the aspiration of the people; and not only subjected to the aspiration of the committee of the UNHRC and the drafters of the UDHR alone.

Part I, Para 5 of Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action 1993:

All human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent and interrelated. The international community must treat human rights globally in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing, and with the same emphasis. While the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind, it is the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

In my opinion, human rights regulations must be subjected to the state laws of the Member State. Let us take Malaysia as an example. Malaysia is a country which has stated in its Federal Constitution (FC) that, “Islam is the religion of the Federation”, making Malaysia an Islamic country.

Article 3(1) of the FC:

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

Hence, any UNHRC human rights regulations that are against the law of Islam are against the FC which is the supreme law of Malaysia, as stated in Article 4 of the FC:

This Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation and any law passed after Merdeka Day which is inconsistent with this Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.

Since the religion of Malaysia is placed under Article 3(1) of the FC, it shows the importance of Islam in the FC; hence the interpretation of other Articles of the FC must be harmonious with Islam; including the Articles about the human right of its people.

If we look at the UNHRC human rights conventions, we can see that some of the Articles of the conventions are against the FC. First, let us look at Article 18 of ICCPR:

Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.

Thus, Article 18 of the ICCPR is inapplicable and unconstitutional in Malaysia because, while Article 11(1) of the FC guarantees freedom of religion; the rights to propagate is subjected to Article 11(4). 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 the same judgement, Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif concluded that:

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.

Therefore, unlike the UNHRC liberal interpretation of freedom of religion, it is the right of the Muslims to be governed according to the Islamic law and to be protected against the secular and liberal ideology of the UNHRC common human rights regulations; apart from the freedom to manifest Islam in worship, observance, practice and teaching.

Article 18 of the ICCPR also gives people the freedom to choose whether they want to believe or not to believe in god. It is very important to understand that according to the Rukun Negara or the National Principles, the “freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice” means ‘freedom of religion’ and not ‘freedom from religion’. The Rukun Negara clearly states that all citizens of Malaysia must believe in god in its first principal which is, ‘Kepercayaan kepada Tuhan’ or ‘Belief in God’. As opposed to the UNHRC’s ideas of human rights, atheism is not part of the rights guaranteed under the freedom of religion in Malaysia.

Apart from going against the Articles 3(1) and 11(4) of the FC; Article 18 of the ICCPR is also against the Articles 37, 38, 76 and 159(5) of the FC. That means it should be void even if it was signed by the federal government as pressured by the UNHRC.

According to Article 38 of the FC, the Parliament cannot make into law and implement Article 18 of ICCPR without the consent of the Conference of Rulers because it touches the matters of religious acts and observances.

Article 38(2)(b) of FC:

The Conference of Rulers shall exercise its functions of— (b) agreeing or disagreeing to the extension of any religious acts, observances or ceremonies to the Federation as a whole;

Article 38(2)(c) of FC:

consenting or withholding consent to any law and making or giving advice on any appointment which under this Constitution requires the consent of the Conference or is to be made by or after consultation with the Conference;

Also, Article 18 of ICCPR cannot be implemented and made into law without the concern of the Government of the State, as in accordance to Article 76 of the FC.

Article 76(1)(a) of FC:

Parliament may make laws with respect to any matter enumerated in the State List, but only as follows, that is to say – for the purpose of implementing any treaty, agreement or convention between the Federation and any other country, or any decision of an international organization of which the Federation is a member.

Article 76(2) ) of FC:

No law shall be made in pursuance of paragraph (a) of Clause (1) with respect to any matters of Islamic law or the custom of the Malays or to any matters of native law or custom in the States of Sabah and Sarawak and no Bill for a law under that paragraph shall be introduced into either House of Parliament until the Government of any State concerned has been consulted.

To be continued in Part II…

“Malaysia was created as a secular nation” – Aidil Khalid Answers Clive Kessler

On January 19, 2016, The Malay Mail Online published an article by Clive Kessler, “Enough of this nonsense! Malaysia was created as a secular nation”.

Stating that ,” Malaya and then Malaysia was created as a secular nation”, Clive Kessler who is an Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of New South Wales maliciously called Uncle Azril Mohd Amin as a “creative legal innovators and myth-maker” when it is him (Clive Kessler) himself who has maliciously distorted the facts about the Federal Constitution of Malaysia in his article.

I sent the article to Uncle Azril and he sent me Uncle Aidil Khalid’s statement:

It was with interest, if also great bemusement, that I read the article entitled “Enough of this nonsense! Malaysia was created as a secular nation” by Professor Clive Kessler and published on January 19, 2016 in The Malay Mail Online. Without citing any binding or persuasive legal authorities whatsoever, the professor had had the audacity to dismiss those affirming the constitutional position of Islam as the religion of the Federation (and thus rejecting the alleged secular notion of our nation), like Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar of the Malaysian Muslim Lawyers Association and Azril Mohd Amin of the Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy, as mere “creative legal innovators and myth makers.”In 2014, I wrote an article, also published in The Malay Mail Online, entitled “Wither the Myth of a Secular Nation”, wherein I argued that the secular notion of our nation is actually a myth not supported by any legal or constitutional basis. I shall reconstruct my arguments therein, albeit trancated, as a response to Professor Kessler herein, but for a more complete and holistic perspective, it is advisable to read my full arguments there.When one reads the provisions of the Federal Constitution, it is important that the provisions be read as it is, and not to disingenuouosly add words that are not there just to satisfy a certain ideology that one believes in. In Dato’ Menteri Othman bin Baginda & Anor v Dato’ Ombi Syed Alwi bin Syed Idrus [1981] 1 MLJ 29, the Late Royal Highness Raja Azlan Shah (as HRH then was) cautioned that “[r]espect must be paid to the language which has been used and to the traditions and usages which have given meaning to that language.”In this regard, a plain reading of the language used in Article 3(1) says that “Islam is the religion of the Federation.” So to suggest, as Professor Kessler did, that Islam is merely the “official emblamatic religion” of Malaysia, when neither the word ‘official’ nor ‘emblamatic’ ever appeared in the provision, is nothing short of constitutional fraud, not to mention intellectual dishonesty. It makes a world of a difference here, between the former and the latter.

Islam is the religion of Malaysia and not merely the official religion of Malaysia.