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).