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Sunday, October 16, 2016

THE END OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN MALAYSIA, IF HADI’S HUDUD BILL IS PASSED – INTERFAITH GROUP WARNS MPs

The  Malaysian  Counsultative  Council  of  Buddhism,  Christianity,  Hindusim,  Sikhism  and Taosim (MCCBCHST) is gravely concerned with Hadi’s Private  Members Bill  which  will  be coming up for debate soon in our Federal Parliament.      As   the  Bill will   have  far –reaching consequences for the Nation, the MCCBCHST   feels   duty   bound   to   issue   this  open letter to Members of Parliament to do their duty as required by their   oath   of   office to protect our Federal Consitution.
Is HADI’s Private Member’s Bill a Bill empowering HUDUD offences?
The answer is a clear ‘YES”.
Here it is why The AIM   of   HADI’s   Private   Member’s    Bill  is  to seek Parliament’s      approval to enhance the Jurisdiction of the SYARIAH COURTS.
Presently   the  Syariah Courts can only impose punishments up to 3 years imprisonment, fine up to  RM5,000.00 and whipping up to 6 lashes (commonly known as 3-5-6 limits).   This   is  provided for by the Syariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355).
HADI’s Bill seeks to amend the 1965 Act (Act 355) as follows:
(i) menggantikan Seksyen 2 dengan Seksyen berikut:
“2. Mahkamah Syariah akan mempunyai kuasa ke atas seseorang penganut agama Islam dan di dalam hal-hal kesalahan di bawah perkara-perkara yang disenaraikan di dalam Butiran 1 Senarai  Negeri  di  bawah Jadual Kesembilan Undang-Undang Persekutuan”,
dan
(ii)    memasukkan selepas Seksyen 2 dengan Seksyen berikut:
2A. “Dalam   menjalankan   undang-undang  jenayah  di  bawah  Seksyen 2 Mahkamah Syariah berhak menjatuhkan hukuman yang dibenarkan oleh Undang-Undang  Syariah   berkaitan    hal-hal    kesalahan  yang disenaraikan di bawah Seksyen yang  disebutkan diatas,   selain   dari  hukuman mati”.

The   proposed   new   Section 2A   is   very   wide  and  states that Syariah  Courts  can  impose punishments which are allowed by Syariah Law in relation to  punishments  which   are   listed under the above Section, other than the death penalty.
Now,   let   us  look at the Syariah Law Enactment passed by the State Legislature of Kelantan, known as   the  “Kelantan Syariah Criminal  Code 11 (1993) 2015”. The  offences included in this Kelantan Enactment are:
HUDUD (fixed punishments).   The offences included are theft, robbery,
adultery, false accusation of adultery, sodomy, intoxication, heresay    (these are ll Hudud Offences).
Qisas (retaliatory) –   punishments for  homicide and causing bodily injuries (these are “qisas offences”).
Ta’zir (discretionary) punishments imposed when  hudud or qisas punishments cannot  be meted out.
Thus if, HADI’s Bill is passed by Parliament, would allow the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code 11 (1993) 2015 to be implemented and to impose HUDUD punishments of theft, robbery, adultery, sodomy, etc.
Thus, the   proposed  HADI’s  Private  Members Bill is clearly a HUDUD BILL as   it  seeks to empower States to be able to introduce amendments  empowering   Syariah Courts to impose HUDUD Punishments.
II. MCCBCHST since its formation has always supported:
The Federal Constitution
Rukunegara
Islam as the religion of the Federation
Loyalty to King and Country
Rule of Law
III. Is HADI’s proposed Bill constitutional.
The MCCBCHST is of the view, that it is clearly unconstitutional.   These are the reasons why it is so.
The Histrocial documents and evidence point to Malaysia being a Secular State.
The ALLIANCE MEMORANDUM submitted jointly by UMNO, MCA, MIC to the Lord Reid  Commissioin   in   1956   specifically  stated   that   they wanted a secular state, although the religion of the State was to be Islam,   and  we  quote:
“The Religion of Malaya shall be Islam.  The observance of this   principle shall not impose any disability on non-Muslim nationals  professing    and   practising their own religion, and shall not imply that the State is not a secular state”.
Lord Reid Commission report recommended that although Islam was  to  be the State religion, it did not imply that the State is not  a  secular State (Para 169 of Reid Report).
The White Paper issued by the British Government   in   June 1957 reconfirmed that the inclusion of the declaration that Islam is the religion of  the  Federation, “will in no way affect the present position of   the   Federation as a secular state” (Paragraph 57 of the White Paper).
Letter dated 31st May, 1957 written by the colonial Secretary (Lennox Boyd) to Lord Reid:
“……… changed their tune about Islam and the Government presented a united front in favour of making  Islam a state religion even though Malaya is to be a secular state”.
The cobbold Commission report 1963 again reiterated the  secular nature of the New Federation comprising Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore.
(vi) The 20 points consensus Agreement   for   Sabah    and   the 18 points consensus Agreement for Sarawak.  The 1st point of agreement was that there would be no State religion for Sabah and Sarawak.
(viii) Tunku   Abdul   Rahman   who   was   deeply   involved  in the drafting of the constitution and attainment of Independence for Malaya on 31st August, 1957 had clearly stated on a number of occasions that Malaysia was a secular state and not an Islamic state, including:-

During debate in the Federal Legislative Council in 1958 “……………. I would like to make it clear that this country is not an Islamic state as it is generally understood, we merely provide that Islam is the official religion of the State”.
Our First   Prime   Minister and   founding  father Tunku Abdul Rahman stated clearly that Malaysia was set up as a secular state with Islam as the official religion” –    The Star (9/2/1983)   under   heading   “Don’t   make Malaysia an Islamic State”)
(ix) There   appears   to   be  no  Historical document    to  contradict the fact that Malaysia was intended to be a secular state.
(2) The   HADI’s   Bill   seeks   to  empower States to  be able to impose HUDUD sentences.   This proposed HUDUD offences   are   already   offences under the Federal Penal Code.  Federal List comes under Parliament and States   cannot   legislate on it.    The HUDUD offences thus  seek   to  encroach   into  the Federasl List   and   seek   to   create   a dual legal system,   which   is   not   allowed by the constitution, as it will undermine the basic structure of the constitution.
Article 160(2) of the Federal Constitution defines “Law” as :-
“Law   includes written law,  the common law in so far as it is in operation in the Federation or any part thereof, and any custom or usage having the force of law in the Federation or any part thereof”.
Thus, Syariah Law (of which HUDUD offences is part),   is   not   even   included  in the definition of “Law under our Federal Constitution.
Thus   the   introduction   of Hudud offences, will affect the very fabric of the Federal Constitution, as basically we are governed by secular laws.
(3) Religion of the Federation
Article 3(1) explained:
It provides:
“Islam is the religion of the Federation, but other religions may be  practised   in   peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.
The Supreme Court in the case of Che Omar Bin Che Soh v. PP (1988) 2 MLJ.  55  after going through the History of   the   Formation of   Malaysia held  that  the  Federation is governed by secular Laws.
Prof. Shad Faruqi in his book “Document of Destiny” at page 123 stated:
“The   word ‘secular’ does   not   appear anywhere in the constitution.  However, there is historical evidence in the Reid   commission  papers that the country was meant to be secular and the intention in making Islam  the  official religion of the Federal was primarly for ceremonial purposes.”
Article 3(4) explained:
It provides:
“Nothing in this Article derogates from any other provision of this constitution”.
This   Article 3(4)   in   the    controlling  Section  of   Article 3 and is very often overlooked in discussions.
The effect of Article 3(4) is that “no right or prohibition, no law or institution is extinguished   or   abolished   as  a  result  of Article 3’s adoption of Islam as the religion of the Federation”. Shad Faruqi – Page 126 “Document of Destiny”
This further means that Article 3 cannot be used to affect or abridge  any  other provision of the constitution.
(4)       Islamic Law   is confined  to  what is provided for in the State
List   II   (9th Sechedule),     with the limitiations imposed therein.
The present limitations are imposed by Act 355 commonly known as 3-5-6 limit).
In   fact   words  “Islamic law”   or  “Syariah Courts” were not found or included in Schedule 9 List II  in  the 1957 Federal Constitution.   This meant that Syariah Law or HUDUD offences were never  in contemplation of the framers of the constitution.
The Schedule 9 List II was amended in August, 1976 to rename “Muslim Courts” as “Syariah Courts” and “Muslim Law as “Islamic Law”.
(5)       Article 4(1) provides that :
“This constitution is the Supreme Law of the Federation…………………..”
This means, all other laws are   inferior  and  they  must conform to the constitution, failing which they will be declared unconstitutional.
Thus, Syarial Laws and other laws are subject to this constitution.
It also means that this constitution is supreme and  not   Parliament.   Therefore any Law   passed  by Parliament that   contravenes   our   Federal   Constitution,  can  be declared null and void by our Courts.
In the Indian Supreme Court case of Kesavananda Bharati v.  the  State   of   Kerala, the Court held that in any Country where the constitution is supreme, there must be an implied restriction of  the  power  of Parliament to change the basic   structure of the Constitution.   This case has been  accepted   by   our   Malaysian Courts and the basic structure doctrine being endorsed.
(6)       Higher status of secular authorities.
“If by a theocratic State is   meant   a  State in which the temporal ruler is subjected  To the final direction of the theological   head   and   in   which  the law of God is the Supreme Law of the land, then clearly Malaysia is nowhere near  theocratic, Islamic state.  Syariah authorities are appointed by State Government and can be dismissed by them.   Temporal authorities are higer than religious authorities”.     Prof.  Shad Faruqi in “Document of Destiny”, Page 126.
IV. Would HADI’s Bill infringe Non-Muslim Rights?
Our YAB. Prime Minister is reported to have said….
“I would like  to  clarify that the   amendment (bill)  is  not hudud law ………… It also involves  the  Syariah Courts and only involves Muslims.      It has nothing to do with   Non-Muslims”…..  [Malaysiakini – 28/5/2016 extract from article by Wong Chin Huat]
The YAB Prime Minister is entitled to his opinion, but we beg to defer.
The following personalities are also not convinced and believe that Hadi’s   Bill  will lead to HUDUD:
4 cabinet Ministers had threathened to resign if Hadi’s Bill is passed
Sarawak Government had made its stand clear that it rejects Hadi’s Bill
“Hadi’s Bill will lead to hudud, G25 refutes Najib (M.Kini 06/07/2016)
EX-IGP warns of PAS’ tactic to slowly push for hudud law (The Star
02/06/2016)
284 Maly NGO’S: Hadi’s Bill is unconstitutional (The Star 26/07/2016)
DON: Muslim’s Not obliged to support Hudud. (The Star 02/06/2016)
Two sets of criminal laws not for morden countries says top Islamic scholar (Malaysian Insider 25/05/2015)
Refrain from calling for Islamic state, Perlis Mufti tell Muslims (M.Kini 04/02/2016)
“No need to discuss something that will not happen. It’s stupid for anyone   to even be discussing Hudud” – Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.
These are the reasons why, Hadi’s Bill, if passed will have serious consequences to   the Nation and to the Non-Muslim position:
The Kelantan Syariah Enactment Bill passed in 1995  as  amended  had by Section 56(2) of the Enactment   given   option   to   Non-Muslims to come under its Jurisdiction.
This option is clear violation of  the   Constitution, which   has   declared   in   List  II   Schedule 9  that  Syariah Courts have jurisdiction only on Muslims.
A paper prepared by the Jakim Syariah Civil Technical Committee dated May 8, 2014 had proposed Hudud  to   be   implemented  in  2 stages, the first involving amendments to Federal and State Laws.
In the second stage it will include education and promotion of the Hudud implementation and would then apply to Non-Muslims [See Malaysia today “Hudud should apply to all Malaysians – Jakim paper suggests dated 6/9/2014].
Hadi’s Bill, thus appears to be the first stage.
Hadi’s Bill is indeed empowerment of Hudud offences.
The   Aim   of   the   Bill   is  to empower States like Kelantan to be able to impose Hudud punishments.   Thus  it  is clearly a   Hudud   offences Bill
Innocent packaging of Hadi’s Bill
The authorities and those supporting Hadi’s Bill now refer to  it  as “Act 355”.  By this they appear to be hoping to Lull people into believing that they   are   just   enhancing powers of Syariah Coruts, e.g. from 6  to 100 lashes and no Hudud offences are involved.
Hudud offences would undermine the Non-Muslim rights as follows:
Under an Islamic theocracy, God’s law is supreme. This position would undermine the fundamental rights guaranteed to citizens.
(b )     A Non-Muslim   cannot   be  a   witness   under Syariah
Law.   In most  Hudud offences   the victim   must     produce   four  (4)   male   Muslim  persons of good  character to give evidence on his or her behalf.
Thus the    Non-Muslim victim   must  rely on the Muslim witnesses although there may be scores of Non-Muslim withnesses available.

(c ) In our   multi-cultural country   people   of  different faiths live side by side.    When crime  is committed involving Muslims and Non-Muslims  which Court would have jurisdiction.
(d) In rape cases, the burden is on the rape victim (women)   to produce 4 adult male Muslim witnesses which in most cases would  be  impossible.
The experience of other Hudud Countries show that such perpetrors go free while the victim can be punished for zina.
(e)   Kelantan Syariah Criminal Enacment 1993
(2015) seems to  recognise fact that crime may be committed against Non-Muslims   by  Muslims  or vice versa when it  provides in Section 56(2) that a Non-Muslim can elect  to come under the Syariah Enactment.  This “choice” given by the Enactment is unconstitutional as jurisdiction is given by law.
[NOTE:  We understand that this section 56(2) may be removed now.  But there is
nothing to stop them from introducing again on the Pretext to allow   Non-
Muslim   victims   to  obtain justice in Syariah Courts].
(vi)    Members of Parliament Oath of office.
The Members of Parliament upon being elected have to swear  an oath to protect the Federal Constitution.
It has been shown above that the 1957 constitution was a product of consensus reached between the communites.  All documents, as shown above,   re-iterate Malaysia as a secular State.
It has been shown above that the Hadi’s Bill has the potentional to affect the basic fibre and structure of   the constitution. It will also create a dual legal system.
Sabah & Sarawak Position

When   Sabah  and Sarawak together with Singapore and Malaya formed Malaysia; Sabah   and  Sarawak   were   guaranteed the   20 and 18 points  in the Agreement.
The 1st point of the Agreement stated that there shall be  no State religion for Sabah and Sarawak.
Thus,   the   Hudud    introduction will  undermine Sabah and Sarawak’s rights for joining Malaysia.
Oath of Office.
Therefore   the  Members of Parliament must attend  Parliament   sittings diligently and be  guided by their oath of office   into rejecting the  Hudud Bill.
One Minister had stated that she would not support  Hudud Bill and will also not attend Parliament.
Non-attending  is  not an option.  It will be a serious mistake not to attend Parliament sitting.  For if Hudud offences Bill is passed, it will   affect  all.      One’s Non-attendance will not be a defence.  All must attend and help to  defeat Hadi’s Private Members Bill.
MCCBCHST call upon all Members of Parliament to attend Parliament  and  Help defend the Constitution by vigourously opposing Hadi’s Bill and voting against it. This is what the Nation Expects of You.
Ven. Dato’ Seri Jit Heng                          Datuk R.S. Mohan Shan    
President                                                               Deputy President  
Bishop Sebastian Francis                              Sardar Jagir Singh                      
Vice-President                                                        Vice-President
Daozhang Tan Hoe Chieow                           Mr. Prematilaka Serisena
Vice-President                                                        Hon. Secretary-General
– MAILBAG

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