MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku



10 APRIL 2024

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Act 164 amendment has nothing to do with liberal Islam

MP SPEAKS | One of the great Muslim ‘saints’ in Morocco, namely Sidi Ahmad Zarruq, was deported to Libya for defending the rights of non-Muslims. He later died, not in his home country of Morocco, but he passed away and was buried in Libya. That was the price the Muslim ‘saint’ had to pay for championing the rights of non-Muslim in a Muslim majority country.
Historically speaking, it was nothing unusual for the Muslims to fight against injustice to the non-Muslims even if such an injustice had been perpetrated by the Muslims themselves. Islam categorically teaches the Muslims that justice is the bedrock of their religion.
In the Muslims’ prime source of reference, ie the Quran, it is replete with explicit commandments to dispense justice. In verse 4: 105 of the Quran, the same was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in order to guide him to do justice to a Jew. The verse enjoined the Prophet (PBUH) not to defend the Muslims when they were in error.
The verse is concerned with a false allegation made by some Muslims against the Jew. A Muslim by the name of Tu’mah Ibnu Ubayriq committed an offence of larceny but his own people, due to nationalism and tribalism, attempted to defend him by making a false accusation against the Jew. The Prophet almost imposed a punishment against the Jew simply because the stolen property was found on the Jew’s premises. Nevertheless, the verse was revealed to rectify the mistake.
What was the lesson from the said story? Simple. Fairness and justice dictate the Muslims to be steadfast in establishing justice irrespective to whom it is directed. In fact, in another verse (5: 8) the Quran expressly states that justice ought to be done even to Muslim’s enemy.
Be that as it may, I am really puzzled when some PAS leaders reportedly labelled any Muslim who has demanded that the government amend Act 164 as a liberal Muslim. In Muslims’ vocabulary, liberal Islam connotes a very negative imputation. Many Muslims unfortunately seem to agree that liberal Muslims must be wiped out as suggested by PAS.
I concede that, in Parliament, I was one of the Muslim MPs who asked the government to amend the Act 164. When MP M Kulasegaran (DAP) stood up in Parliament lamenting the delay in amending the said Act, he was duly supported by MP Ram Karpal Singh.
I was the only Muslim MP who also stood up and agreed with YB Kulasegaran. I told the Parliament that Act 164 badly needed necessary amendments. As Muslims, it is not right for us to ignore the problems of Act 164 particularly the problem of legal custody and unilateral child conversion. I added that the Muslim should not sweep the problems under the carpet. I must say that many Amanah leaders especially its MPs also share my sentiments.
Attempting to find workable solutions
I am not sure whether the PAS leaders who voiced out on this issue really understood the problems faced by Muslims and non-Muslims alike with some provisions in the Act. if they really understood, it would be utterly weird for them to simply ignore the problems. If they did not understand, how on earth would they simply pass any judgment against any Muslim who understood the problem and attempted to find workable solutions.
One of the problematic section in Act 164 is section 51 involves the issue of jurisdiction of the court when one of the spouses, contracted the marriage under the Act 164, converted to Islam. Normally, this Muslim husband or wife would simply go to the Shariah court either to dissolve the marriage or determine the custody of a child, if any.

On many occasions,the Shariah court would normally decided in favour of the Muslim simply because the hearing was heard ex parte ie the non-Muslim party was not duly heard. Thus it caused a lot of problems so much so many non-Muslims felt that they were unfairly and unjustly treated.
Thus, in my view, a workable and fair solution needs to be found out. That is why the idea of amending the Act has been mooted out. It has nothing to do with liberal Islam.

MOHAMED HANIPA MAIDIN is the MP for Sepang.-Mkini

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