Act 355: Answering “CCM Says Hadi’s Bill Will Radically Rewrite Constitution”

In preserving a harmonious country, the people of Malaysia from all faiths and races must uphold the Federal Constitution, respect each other, obey the laws of our country and must not insult others.

As a person in his position who always talks about unity and harmony, Hermen Shastri must not insult the Muslims by making rude, harsh and false accusations regarding the Syariah punishments as well as the PAS president’s Bill.

After all, why must non-Muslims try so hard to deny the constitutional rights of the Muslims to manage our own religious affairs as written in Article 11(3) of our Federal Constitution?

In its article, “In plea to MPs, CCM says Hadi’s Bill will ‘radically’ rewrite constitution”, Malay Mail Online (MMO) wrote:

Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM)’s secretary-general, Reverend Dr Hermen Shastri recently claimed that a vote for the Act 355 Bill which was tabled by PAS’ president, Dato’ Seri Haji Hadi will “radically” rewrite the Federal Constitution, urging MPs to not look at the Bill lightly and instead view it with “great concern and alarm”  Malay Mail Online.

MMO later quoted Shastri as saying:

“Hadi’s Bill is not just about upgrading the power of the Shariah Courts, it is rewriting the constitution in a radical way,” – Malay Mail Online.

Now, what does the CCM leader’s intention of using the words, “… in a radical way” when Hadi’s Bill is in no way will bring any changes to the Constitution?

The fact is, the Bill is only to increase the Syariah punishments which maximum punishments are currently too low and not to introduce new sets of laws.

MMO also wrote that:

Shastri pointed out that Shariah Courts were established and regulated by state laws, and that their powers and offences were defined by the Federal Constitution  Malay Mail Online.

The Bill will not change this fact, the Shariah Courts will still be regulated by State laws while the Civil Courts will still be regulated by Federal laws.


Worse, Herman Shastri’s wild accusation gives the implications to people who believe his words that those who are telling the truth about the Bill are liars; which will cause anger and hatred that can divide the people.

According to MMO:

He added that the ramification to widen Islamic laws was not only limited to those who are Muslims  Malay Mail Online.

Another false statement because under the laws of Malaysia, non-Muslims are not subjected to the Syariah Laws.

Section 2 of the Act 355 clearly says that the Syariah Court has no jurisdiction over the non-Muslims and Hadi’s Bill is not about amending the Section 2 of the Act 355 to give the Syariah Courts the jurisdiction over the non-Muslims.

Also said by Shastri:

“Once we lose the balance between Syariah and Civil Courts as set forth in our Federal Constitution, it is going to lead to a dangerous path of conflicting jurisdictions; forms of punishment not acceptable in modern societies; and erosion against the liberal secular status of the Constitution and its impact especially on the states of Sabah and Sarawak,”

~Malay Mail Online

Firstly, what does the CCM’s secretary-general mean by “forms of punishment not acceptable in modern societies”?

From the above sentence, I understand the above rude phrase is written in reference to the Syariah punishment, which is clearly an insult to Islam, the religion of the Federation and to the Muslims who believe in the teaching of Islam.

Is insulting and scoffing at other religions an attitude that is “acceptable in modern societies”?

There is no case of “… erosion against the liberal secular status of the Constitution”, because the status of our Federal Constitution is neither liberal nor secular since Article 3(1) of our Federal Constitution stated that Islam is the religion of the Federation.

In fact, the words liberal and secular have never been mentioned in our Federal Constitution.

To understand a secular constitution, please refer to the constitution of the United States of America and read the interesting case about Mount Soledad.

As a CCM leader, Hermen Shastri must be really careful of what he said, especially when commenting about other religions, please do not scoff at or insult other religion.

Do not insult others and learn to respect the constitutional rights of others.

He must get his facts right from the people who understand the matter for if not, not only it will be a pointless statement which doesn’t make any sense but it will also cause anger and hatred.

The rights of the Muslims to be governed by the Islamic law is granted under the Federal Constitution of our country.

In the judgement of ZI Publications Sdn Bhd and Another v Kerajaan Negeri Selangor, the Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif concluded:

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.

Hadi’s Bill only concerns the lives of the Muslims and we are not disturbing people of other faith.

We want to prevent and solve social problems among the Muslims as some offences punishable by the Syariah Courts are not considered as offences under civil law, such as Muslims drinking alcohol in public which can also cause problems to non-Muslims as in the cases of violence when they are drunk.

So why must it become a problem to non-Muslims when the Muslim are working to solve our social problems and helping each other to become better Muslims and better human being?

Are the people who are against the Bill are against the faithful Muslims?

Related Posts:

Is Malaysia A Secular State?

Is Malaysia a secular state?

No, Malaysia is not a secular state.

The Minister in the Prime Minister Department (Law and Parliamentary Affairs), YB Dato’ Seri Nazri Aziz made that statement at the parliament yesterday.

He said that Malaysia has never been declared a secular nation despite having secular laws.

“Under the Federal Constitution, there is no mention of the word secular in it,” he said when replying a question raised John Fernandez (DAP-Seremban) at the parliament on Monday.

Referring to Article 3 (1) of the Federal Constitution, Nazri also said that the position of Islam as a federal religion was also noted in several provisions under the Constitution which included the development and spread of Islam amongst the Muslim community and that civil courts have no jurisdiction over the powers of the Syariah courts. 

“There is also the oath taken by the Agong under Schedule Four to preserve Islam at all times,” he added.

Based on Article 162 of the Constitution, Nazri noted the 1988 Supreme Court’s decision in Che Omar did not declare the country as a secular nation although secular laws were used.

He also noted the words used in context of Article 162 referred to laws that were passed prior to Independence and were stated as ‘existing laws’ rather than ‘secular laws’.

So, is Malaysia a secular state?

Uncle Mahamad Naser Disa had spoken about this matter a lot of times and so did Uncle Azril Mohd Amin.

Like Nazri’s statements, they said that Malaysia is not a secular state for the reasons as given by the minister.

They always remind us about Article 3 (1) of the Federal Constitution that says that: 

” Islam is the religion of the Federation”

It is very funny when DAP and PAS of Pakatan Rakyat always say that Malaysia is a secular state when Malaysia is not.

I think PR leaders would not accept the fact given by Nazri and would be looking for reasons to spin the facts and prove that they are right.

I wonder why? 

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