Boo Su-Lyn’s Malay Mail Online article, “Why we must stand up against Hadi’s Bill” is full of false, slanderous and malicious accusations that undermine Islam, the religion of the Federation. She is instigating disunity among people of different races. She is disloyal to the DYMM Yang Di-Pertuan Agong as she refutes the DYMM Agong’s oath to uphold Islam at all time and she also went against the decree of the former DYMM Yang Di-Pertuan Agong which was made in the parliament on the 7th March, 2016:
“Beta berharap langkah-langkah ke arah memperkukuhkan institusi agama dan kecekapan perlaksanaan undang-undang pentadbiran agama Islam melalui pemerkasaan Mahkamah Syariah dapat disegerakan.”
Article 11(3) of the Federal Constitution says that, “Every religious group has the right— to manage its own religious affairs”. That means Boo Su-Lyn has no constitutional rights to intervene in the matters of the Muslims religious affairs and to question the implementation of our Syariah Laws.
One of the causes of religious conflicts in Malaysia is instigation made by people like Boo Su-Lyn who seems to think that she knows everything, has the right to interfere with everything and has respect to others.
Below are my answers (in blue) to Boo Su-Lyn’s article in red:
JANUARY 20 — If we fear that PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s Bill to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355) may irrevocably change our beloved country, then we must stand up against the Bill in a united show of protest.
PAS president’s Private Member’s Bill is an amendment to enhance the Act 355, which was last amended in 1989 in order to empower the Malaysian Judiciary Systems, specifically the Syariah Courts. Lots of other Acts had been amended more than twice since Act 355 was last amended.
Today, the maximum punishment for smoking in public places is higher than the maximum punishments for any Syariah offences, thus, giving an impression that the offence of smoking in public places is more serious than any Syariah offences including apostasy.
It’s not enough to merely issue press statements as our voices are scattered.
Boo Su-Lyn is beginning to echo what was said by Jamal Yunos about Bersih, so she must stop complaining about him. Bersih rallies are illegal, affect everybody including Jamal but Act 355 is constitutional and does not affect the non-Muslims including Boo.
PAS knows that there is significant opposition to Hadi’s Bill, which is why they themselves are organising a mass rally on February 18 to gather support for the Bill, even though the prime minister himself has announced that the government will take over the proposed legislation.
On the February 18, Muslims will rally in solidarity as a united Muslim ummah, regardless of their political parties, to urge their MPs to support the amendment of Act 355. PAS does not need to gather support from the Muslims because the majority of the Muslims support the private Bill.
Likewise, if we Malaysians across race and religion feel strongly against Hadi’s Bill which threatens to alter the secular structure of our country, then we must mobilise ourselves and express our opposition on a single, visible platform.
By calling Malaysia a secular country, Boo Su-Lyn slanders and challenges both the Federal Constitution and the definition of secularism.
George Jacob Holyoake who is the creator of the term secularism defines secularism as separating government and religion. Therefore, as said in many of my previous posts, it is impossible for Malaysia to be defined as a secular country when Islam is stated as the religion of the Federation in Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution.
Hence, Boo words, “threatens to alter the secular structure of our country” is indeed a malicious lie.
Proponents claim that Hadi’s Bill is not about hudud, conveniently ignoring history when PAS has always wanted to amend Act 355 and even the Federal Constitution to allow it to implement hudud in Kelantan.
Boo is wrong again. It is a slanderous lie to claim that the Private Bill is a Hudud Bill or it will legalise the Kelantan’s Hudud because:
- The offences under the jurisdiction of the Syariah Courts are not the same as the offences listed under the Hudud law.
- Hudud’s punishments include capital punishment which is not included under the Act 355.
The Bill is only to enable amendments to be made to the existing Act 355 Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act so that the Syariah Courts can increase the punishments for the cases under the courts’ jurisdictions. Therefore, this Bill is unable to enable the implementation of Kelantan’s Kanun Jenayah Syariah II (1993) 2015 or known as Kelantan’s Hudud.
A working paper by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) that was leaked in 2014 had even argued that the Islamic penal code should be applied to all Malaysians on the basis that Islam is the religion of the federation.
The amendment of Act 355 is unable to enable the implementation of Kelantan’s Kanun Jenayah Syariah II (1993) because Kelantan’s Kanun Jenayah Syariah II contradicts with our judicial systems.
It has only been of late that PAS claims that Hadi’s Bill is not aimed at introducing hudud law, but merely at expanding the punitive powers of the Shariah courts. The proposed expansion of Shariah punishments is drastic — increasing jail term limits from three to 30 years, hiking up fines by 20 times from RM5,000 to RM100,000, and multiplying lashes of the cane from six to 100.
For those who do not bother to check their facts right like Boo Su-Lyn, will claim that “the proposed expansion of Shariah punishments is drastic”. Actually, the hike in the proposed amendment seems high because the current punishment limits are much too low and are overdue for a revised since the last increase in the punishment was done 33 years ago.
In reality, even though the maximum punishment for the civil offence of smoking in public places is RM10,000 fine or two years of imprisonment, some activists are still fighting for the increase in the punishments.
In the case of whipping, there is a huge difference between Syariah whipping as compared to civil whipping, both in terms of the way of conduct and also the size of the cane. I trust the Syariah Courts’ judges and I’m sure they are as professional as the Civil Courts’ judges and not to punish people cruelly.
What religious offence would merit imprisonment of up to three decades?
A lot because Islam is a way of life.
In the Penal Code, rape and culpable homicide not amounting to murder are punishable with 30 years’ jail. What offence which merely violates certain religious instructions can possibly be equivalent to the violent crimes of rape and homicide?
A lot including apostasy and offences under Islamic Family Laws.
MCA is against PAS’ “Himpunan 355” rally, claiming that it will cause disunity.
MCA should have banned their members from taking part in the illegal Bersih 5 because not only Bersih causes disunity, it condemned the government and caused chaos all around the city for its selfish decision to demonstrate around the city instead of holding a rally in a stadium or a field.
I don’t think we should try to prevent PAS from organising their rally. It’s well within their rights to assemble peacefully for whatever cause they hold dear.
Just as it’s within our rights as Malaysian citizens to protest against Hadi’s Bill.
Make sure that it will be legal, hold the rally in a stadium or a field and do not turn it into street demonstrations like Bersih. It will be interesting to see if the Malay leaders of PPBM, PAN and PKR dare to take part.
Hadi’s supporters say that non-Muslims are interfering with Muslim affairs by questioning and criticising Hadi’s Bill, which they claim will not affect non-Muslims.
Article 11(3) of the Federal Constitution says that, “Every religious group has the right— to manage its own religious affairs”.
It’s a spurious argument.
Are you challenging the Article 11(3) of the Federal Constitution?
Malaysia is a multi-racial and multi-religious country. We do not live in silos. We eat, work and live together.
Wrong. Malaysia is a multi-racial but not a multi-religious country. Malaysia’s only religion is Islam, as stated in the Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution. But Malaysia is a country with multi-religious citizens.
Non-Muslims may not want to see their Muslim friends, family or neighbours subjected to an unjust law that is opposed by some Muslims themselves.
In the judgment of the Federal Court case, ZI Publications Sdn Bhd and Another v Kerajaan Negeri Selangor, Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif said:
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.
Claiming Syariah laws and punishment as unjust is challenging the Federal Constitution because the Syariah Courts are part of our judicial systems as written in Article 121(1A). It has a seditious tendency as stated in Section 3(1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948, which is, to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the administration of justice in Malaysia or in any State.
Non-Muslims may also end up being victimised, which has already happened in several interfaith child custody cases involving Muslim converts. A 60-year-old Christian woman was publicly caned in Acheh, Indonesia, last April under Shariah law for selling alcohol.
Another lame and out of context argument. Malaysian Syariah Courts have never punished any non-Muslim and the proposed amendment does not give the Syariah Courts the jurisdiction to do so.
Everyone has the right to talk about Hadi’s Bill because it is just like any other ordinary piece of legislation. This is not interference in someone else’s religious affairs; it’s about exercising our roles in democracy as equal Malaysian citizens.
Everyone has the right to talk but non-Muslims have no constitutional rights to intervene in the matters of the Muslims religious affairs as stated in Article 11(3).
Hadi’s opinions must be open to scrutiny just like those of any Malaysian politician. No one should stand on a pedestal as if they’re above everyone else.
Agreed, that is why I hope Boo Su-Lyn will be professional enough to write about the seditious statements made by opposition leaders toward the religion of Islam.
We cannot separate “Muslim” and “non-Muslim” affairs as if they’re different slices of a cake.
Boo Su-Lyn must go back to school and learn about Article 11(3) and other basic facts about our Federal Constitution before writing on matters related to the Constitution because everyone is subjected to the laws of our country including Boo Su-Lyn. “No one should stand on a pedestal as if they’re above everyone else”.
Taxpayers’ money that goes towards maintaining the Shariah courts and Islamic departments and enforcing Shariah legislation, just like it’s used to upgrade roads and to pay the salaries of civil servants, comes from both non-Muslim and Muslim taxpayers.
Boo must go back to school. Islam is the religion of the Federation. Therefore, the Federal Government is allowed to spend for the Syariah Courts using the taxpayers’ money. And Article 12(2) of the Federal Constitution allows the Federal Government to establish or maintain or assist in establishing or maintaining Islamic institutions or provide or assist in providing instruction in the religion of Islam. In fact, the government is not at all allowed to spend taxpayers’ money for secular reasons or on anything that could cause any negative effect on the religion of Islam.
Laws that are passed in both the state legislative assemblies and in Parliament, including state Shariah legislation, involve the participation of both Muslim and non-Muslim lawmakers.
These state assemblymen and MPs must also remember that they represent voters across race and religion, even if most of their constituents may be predominantly of a certain ethnicity. Hence, their vote on Hadi’s Bill must be representative of their entire constituency, and not merely come from personal religious convictions.
Precisely. Boo Su-Lyn must remind the MPs that they represent their voters, so they are supposed to listen to the voters in the case of Hadi’s Private Bill and not to make their own decisions. Non-Muslim MPs must not forget who voted them into office, especially those from MCA, MIC and Gerakan.
Both non-Muslims and Muslims, as Malaysian citizens who vote and pay taxes, have just as much right as each other to talk about various issues and policies, including Shariah law and vernacular schools.
All Malaysian citizens have the rights to talk about the bill but non-Muslims have no constitutional rights to fight against the amendment of Act 355 because it is regarding the Muslims religious affairs as it is against the Article 11(3).
So, everyone should not be afraid of speaking up against Hadi’s Bill.
The can talk about it as long as they know their limits.
It is our right as citizens to stand up for what we think is right and to stop Malaysia from turning into an intolerant state like Brunei or Acheh.
Boo Su-Lyn must stop making slanderous accusations and remember that nobody is above the law, including her. We are governed by law and our supreme law is the Federal Constitution.
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 said:
 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).