G25, Another Voice Of Liberal Muslims?

21 08 2015

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 dated December 7, 2014 (please click here for the open letter) 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:

[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.

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.


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11 responses

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