Menjawab “Jika Islam Boleh, Kenapa Kristian Tidak Boleh”

17 07 2017

Saya terkedu membaca sebuah artikel di portal berita Menara.my yang bertajuk, “Jika Islam Boleh, Kenapa Kistian Tidak Boleh – Pensyarah Universiti” di  mana “seorang pensyarah universiti tempatan pada Sabtu lalu mempersoalkan jika orang Islam boleh berdakwah kepada orang-orang Kristian, kenapakah orang Kristian tidak boleh berbuat perkara yang sama?”

Menurut Menara.my, persoalan tersebut telah diutarakan oleh Helen Ting yang merupakan  salah seorang felo utama di Institut Kajian Malaysia dan Antarabangsa (IKMAS), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia pada satu sesi soal jawab pada forum yang bertajuk “Deceitful? Distracting? Or Dedicated? Evangelicals and Current Controversies in Malaysia” anjuran Kairos Dialogue Network.

“If you think that it is okay to propagate your faith among Christians then, why is it that it is so wrong for Christians to do like that?”

~Helen Ting (Dipetik daripada Menara.my)

Orang bukan Islam dilarang berdakyah kepada orang Islam berdasarkan Perkara 11(4) Perlembagaan Persekutuan; Ting hanya membuatkan dirinya dilihat tidak cerdik apabila buat-buat tidak tahu atau memang tidak tahu tentang perkara asas ini.

Halangan ini diperkukuhkan lagi oleh Seksyen 298A Akta Kanun Keseksaan yang melarang perkara yang boleh menyebabkan perpecahan di antara kaum dan agama.

Perkara 11(4) Perlembagaan Persekutuan menegaskan:

Undang-undang Negeri dan berkenaan dengan WilayahWilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Labuan dan Putrajaya, undang-undang persekutuan boleh mengawal atau menyekat pengembangan apa-apa doktrin atau kepercayaan agama di kalangan orang yang menganuti agama Islam.

Menara.my seterusnya melaporkan bahawa felo utama IKMAS itu juga mempersoalkan “kalau Muslim rasa risau dengan kata-kata yang mahu mengadakan ‘Christian State’, bagaimana pula dengan perasaan bukan Islam yang mendengar ahli-ahli politik membincangkan tentang negara Islam dan sebagainya?”

Soalan ini tidak masuk akal dan amat dangkal sekali kerana  sebagai felo utama IKMAS, Helen Ting sepatutnya tidak keliru tentang ideologi negara.

Malaysia ialah sebuah negara Islam, dan negeri-negeri  yang membentuk Malaysia ini dahulunya adalah merupakan negara-negara kerajaan Melayu Islam yang berdaulat di bawah pemerintahan Raja-Raja Melayu masing-masing.

Jadi adalah tidak logik apabila Ting, sebagai seorang ahli akademik mahu menyamakan kebimbangan umat Islam bila negara Islam Malaysia mahu ditukarkan kepada Christian State yang tentunya mengancam kedaulatan negara dan mencabar kuasa Yang Di Pertuan Agong, dengan perasaan orang bukan Islam yang tidak suka bila disebut negara Islam Malaysia; walhal, Malaysia sememangnya sebuah negara Islam sejak dahulu lagi.

Perkara 3(1) Perlembagaan Persekutuan mengatakan:

“Islam ialah agama bagi Persekutuan; tetapi agama-agama lain boleh diamalkan dengan aman dan damai di mana-mana Bahagian Persekutuan.”

Di dalam penghakiman kes Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur v. Menteri Dalam Negeri and Kerajaan Malaysia di Mahkamah Rayuan, Hakim Mahkamah Persekutuan pada ketika itu, Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali telah menegaskan bahawa tujuan di masukkan kata-kata “dengan aman dan damai” ke dalam Perkara 3(1) adalah untuk melindungi kesucian Isalm sebagai agama negara dan juga untuk melindungi Islam daripada apa-apa ancaman yang dihadapi atau apa-apa kemungkinan dan kemungkinan ancaman terhadap agama Islam.

“It is my judgment that the purpose and intention of the insertion of the words: “in peace and harmony” in Article 3(1) is to protect the sanctity of Islam as the religion of the country and also to insulate against any threat faced or any possible and probable threat to the religion of Islam.”

Oleh itu amat jelas bahawa Malaysia ialah sebuah negara Islam, di mana agama Islam dilindungi oleh Perlembagaan; tetapi agama-agama lain boleh diamalkan selagi “aman dan damai” terhadap Islam dan tidak menimbulkan ancaman terhadap Islam iaitu agama negara.

Gesaan untuk membenarkan orang Kristian berdakyah kepada umat Islam dan niat untuk menukar Malaysia kepada sebuah Christian State bukan sahaja boleh menimbulkan ketegangan di antara agama, malah mempunyai kecenderungan mencabar dan menghalang Yang Di Pertuan Agong (sebagai Ketua Tertinggi Islam negara) daripada kedaulatan negara dan jika disabitkan kesalahan, boleh dihukum di bawah Seksyen-Seksyen berikut Akta Kanun Keseksaan Malaysia: 

  • Seksyen 121B  Akta Kanun Keseksaan
  • Seksyen 121C  Akta Kanun Keseksaan
  • Seksyen 121D  Akta Kanun Keseksaan
  • Seksyen 298A Akta Kanun Keseksaan

(Untuk keterangan lanjut tentang Seksyen-Seksyen 121B, 121C, 121D dan 298A, sila rujuk “Menjawab Dr. Ariffin Omar: Apa salahnya kalau Penang hendak dijadikan Christian city?”:

Kenyataan seterusnya oleh Ting yang dipetik Menara.my jelas menggambarkan sikap felo utama IKMAS itu yang gagal berpijak di bumi yang nyata dan telah mencabar Perlembagaan Persekutuan dengan merendahkan kedudukan agama Islam, seolah-olah kedudukan agama Islam di Tanah Air kita ini hanyalah setaraf dengan kedudukan agama-agama lain.

“For me, I feel this country is ours, everybody’s. There should not be a preference towards one religion.”

~Helen Ting (Dipetik daripada Menara.my)

Di dalam penghakiman kes Meor Atiqulrahman bin Ishak & Ors v Fatimah Sihi & Ors[2000]  1 MLJ 393, di Mahkamah Tinggi, hakim ketika itu, Tan Sri Mohd Noor Abdullah menegaskan:

Pada pendapat saya “Islam ialah ugama bagi Persekutuan tetapi ugama-ugama lain boleh diamalkan dengan aman dan damai” bermakna Islam adalah ugama utama di antara ugama-ugama lain yang dianuti di negara ini seperti Kristian, Buddha, Hindu dan selainnya. Islam bukan setaraf dengan ugama lain, bukan duduk berganding bahu atau berdiri sama tegak. Ia duduk di atas, ia berjalan dahulu, terletak di tempat medan dan suaranya lantang kedengaran. Islam ibarat pokok jati – tinggi, teguh dan terampil. Jika bukan sedemikian Islam bukanlah ugama bagi Persekutuan tetapi adalah salah satu di antara beberapa ugama yang dianuti di negara ini dan setiap orang sama-sama bebas mengamalkan manamana ugama yang dianutinya, tiada lebih satu dari yang lain.

Tingginya kedudukan Islam sebagai agama negara adalah jelas kerana hanya nama Islam  sahaja yang disebut, malah berkali-kali di dalam Perlembagaan,

Tiada nama agama-agama lain yang disebut di dalam Perlembagaan, agama-agama lain hanyalah dirujuk sebagai ‘agama-agama lain’.

Persekutuan Malaysia ini adalah sebuah negara Islam dan rakyat Malaysia yang taat dan sayangkan negaranya mesti patuh kepada undang-undang negara yang selama ini telah menyatukan rakyat Malaysia dan berjaya memelihara keamanan negara.

Seperti kata Aunty Prof. Dr Shamrahayu Abd Aziz, janganlah diruntuh rumah pusaka, yang saya rasa bermaksud, janganlah kita runtuhkan negara yang kita warisi ini kerana nantinya kita juga yang akan rugi dan menyesal; oleh itu kita mestilah memelihara dan menghargai keamanan negara yang telah kita warisi dari pengorbanan nenek moyang kita.

Helen Ting sebagai seorang pensyarah kanan universiti mestilah bersikap bertanggung jawab, bertindak dengan bijak dan apabila bercakap, mestilah berdasarkan fakta dan bukannya mengikut emosi dan persepsi.

Malangnya, terdapat ahli-ahli akademik yang bertindak memutar belitkan fakta untuk mencipta persepsi yang salah atau buruk terhadap suatu kebenaran demi mencapai tujuan tertentu.

 

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The Constitutionally Illiterate Tawfik Tun Dr Ismail

7 06 2017

In a FMT’s article, “Did Zahid call Malaysia an Islamic state?” Tawfik attacks the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for calling Malaysia an Islamic state; because according to Tawfik, Malaysia is a secular country with Islam only as its official religion. 

That makes me wonder if Tawfik Ismail, who Free Malaysia Today (FMT) referred as “a prominent opponent of theocratic governance”, has ever read the Federal Constitution or understands the definition of the word secular.

A member of a liberal group called G25, Tawfik had made uncalled statements before such as urging JAKIM to be abolished.

Below are my answers (in blue) to Tawfik’s statements (in red) as published by FMT.


PETALING JAYA: A prominent opponent of theocratic governance, Tawfik Ismail, has questioned whether Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was calling the country an Islamic state during a recent breaking of fast gathering in Alor Setar.

He said Zahid would be wrong if it was true that he rejected the notion that Malaysia was a secular state.

Contrary to Tawfik’s accusation, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is right by calling the country an Islamic state and rejected the notion that Malaysia is or was a secular state. It is Tawfik who is constitutionally illiterate for rejecting the notion that Malaysia is an Islamic state and instead, claiming that our country is a secular state.

He was referring to a Bernama report that quoted the deputy prime minister as saying that those who claimed this country was secular should first have a look at the Federal Constitution. He said the constitution placed Islam as the official religion and referred to the country as a Muslim country.

I wonder if Bernama made a mistake in reporting when it wrote that the Deputy Prime Minister says, “the Constitution placed Islam as the official religion” because Berita Harian quoted Zahid saying that the Constitution states that Islam is the religion of the Federation. The Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia says:

Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.

Please note that the Constitutions says “Islam is the religion of the Federation and not ‘the official religion’. Adding the word “official” is a slender to the federal Constitution as it distorts the notion of the Article 3(1).

“It would be more accurate to call the country a Muslim-majority country. That would be factual,” Tawfik told FMT.

It is factual that Malaysia is an Islamic country, and also a Muslim-majority country. 

“The constitution and the doctrine of separation of powers, the sultans’ role as heads of religion in their respective states, the notion of equality under the law, the right of everyone to stand for public office regardless of race or religion all guarantee that Malaysia is a secular country.”

Tawfik’s problem is, he does not understand the definition of a secularism which means the separation of religion and state. His above statement does not define a secular country. 

Tawfik, who is a former Umno member and one-term MP of Sungai Benut, said Islam’s position as the country’s official religion gave little support to the argument that the country wasn’t secular.

Tawfik must first read the Federal Constitution before making any statement regarding the Federal Constitution. The Federal Constitution, in Article 3(1) enshrines Islam as the religion of the Federation and not as the official religion of our nation. 

“I think it means the sovereign or king is Muslim and therefore Islam is considered the official religion, just like the Queen in England is head of the church.

Tawfik must first study the Federal Constitution before talking about constitutional issues.

“You could say ours is a hybrid system because we have many races practising many religions allowed under the constitution. Just because the majority of Malaysians are Malays and Malays are defined under the constitution as Muslims, making Islam the dominant religion, it doesn’t dominate other faiths.”

In the High Court decision of the case, Meor Atiqulrahman bin Ishak & Ors v Fatimah Sihi & Ors[2000]  1 MLJ 393, the then Justice Mohd Noor Abdullah had clearly clarified that the Federal Constitution has provided that other religions have no equal standing as Islam:

In my opinion, “Islam is the religion of the Federation but other religions may be practied in peace and harmony” means that Islam is the main religion among other religions that are practied in the country such as Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and others. Islam is not equal to any other religion, not sitting together or stand upright. It sits on top, he walked past, located in the field and his voice heard. Islam is like teak trees – tall, strong and skilled. If not so Islam is not the religion of the Federation but is one among several religions practised in the country and everyone is equally free to practice any religion he professes, no more one than the other. Provisions ‘Islam is the religion of the Federation’ shall be defined and reviewed with the objective to read other provisions of the Constitution, especially Article 89, 152, 153 and 14.

Bebas spokesperson Azrul Khalib also spoke on the matter, agreeing that the constitution did not put Islam in a position to dominate other religions.

Since when does a Bebas or any NGO leader is given the rights to redefine and reinterpret the supreme law of our country? It is a mind-blowing to see FMT using just a mere opinion of an NGO leader who is not even a constitutional expert to define the Federal Constitution.

“It’s important to realise that nowhere does the constitution ever intend for the country to be an Islamic state,” he told FMT.

The Malay rulers as the stakeholders of the Federation have never intent for the country to become a secular state. In fact the word secular or anything related to secularism is not even mentioned in the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

In the conclusion of the judgement of ZI Publications Sdn Bhd and Another v Kerajaan Negeri Selangor, where The Right Honourable Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif said that:

”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”.

And to further prove that Malaysia was meant to be an Islamic state and not a secular state, the Federal Constitution has Articles such as Article 11(4), Article 12(2), Article 37, Article 121(1A), and more.

“At the end of the day, it needs to be emphasised that the position of Islam as the official religion of the federation should not be a reference or a tool to bludgeon people of other religions into submitting to Islam.”

Islam is the religion of the Federation. Only constitutionally illiterate people think that Islam is the official religion of the federation; so there is no such thing as “using the position of Islam as the official religion of the federation should not be a reference or a tool to bludgeon people of other religions into submitting to Islam.”

He said that as much as it was important to look at the constitution to see that the country was a secular state, people should also look at court rulings affirming this.

The Federal Constitution has never said that Malaysia is a secular country. In fact, it is the government’s constitutional duty to protect the sanctity of Islam which is in itself denies that Malaysia is a secular country. This is proven by the Court of Appeal judgement of Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur v. Kerajaan Malaysia & Menteri Dalam Negeri, when YA Dato’ Abdul Aziz Rahim said:

I would add however that the position of Islam as the religion of the Federation, to my mind imposes certain obligation on the power that be to promote and defend Islam as well to protect its sanctity. In one article written by Muhammad Imam, entitled Freedom of Religion under Federal Constitution of Malaysia – A Reappraisal [1994] 2 CLJ lvii (June) referred to by the learned counsel for the 8th appellant it was said that: “Article 3 is not a mere declaration. But it imposes positive obligation on the Federation to protect, defend, promote Islam and to give effect by appropriate state action, to the injunction of Islam and able to facilitate and encourage people to hold their life according to the Islamic injunction spiritual and daily life.”

In the Federal Court judgement of ZI Publications Sdn Bhd and Another v Kerajaan Negeri Selangor, The Right Honourable Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif said:

“Thus, in the present case, we are of the view that Article 10 of the Federal Constitution must be read in particular with Articles 3(1), 11, 74(2) and 121. Article 3(1) declares Islam as the religion of the Federation. Article 11 guarantees every person’s right to profess and practise his religion and to propagate it. With regard to propagation, there is a limitation imposed by Article 11(4) which reads:-

“(4) State Law and in respect of the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya, federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.”

In a secular state, the government has no constitutional duty to protect the sanctity of a particular religion.

“The supremacy of secular law in Malaysia was upheld in 1988 in the Supreme Court case of Che Omar bin Che Soh vs Public Prosecutor in which the Supreme Court rejected the argument that the death penalty for drug trafficking was unconstitutional for offending the principles of Islam,” he said.

“The court said Article 3 of the Federal Constitution recognises Islam as the religion of the federation but it does not allude to Malaysia being an Islamic state, confirming that the country is secular.

This is another lame argument used by people who are trying to spin the fact that Malaysia is an Islamic state. In the judgement of the case Che Omar bin Che Soh v. Public Prosecutor, Tun Salleh Abas has never said that Malaysia is a secular state; alas he only said that Malaysia still uses the secular laws.

Today, there are other new judgments of more important cases that clearly state that Malaysia is an Islamic state such as Meor Atiqulrahman bin Ishak & Ors v Fatimah Sihi & Ors[2000]  1 MLJ 393, Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur v. Kerajaan Malaysia & Menteri Dalam Negeri,  ZI Publications Sdn Bhd and Another v Kerajaan Negeri Selangor and others.

“We need to remember the second part of Article 3, which reads ‘Islam is the religion of the federation, but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the federation.’ Therefore, Article 3 should not be used to impose dominance on non-Muslims or insist on religious superiority.”

The words “in peace and harmony” have been interpreted by the then Federal Court Judge, Tan Sri Apandi Ali during the judgement of the Court of Appeal case of Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur v. Menteri Dalam Negeri & Kerajaan Malaysia. His words were:

It is my judgment that the purpose and intention of the insertion of the words: “in peace and harmony” in Article 3(1) is to protect the sanctity of Islam as the religion of the country and also to insulate against any threat faced or any possible and probable threat to the religion of Islam.

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Boo Su-Lyn Supports Nanyang’s ‘Monkey Act’

19 04 2017

The Federal Constitution which is the supreme law of our country has to be respected in order to maintain a harmonious society.
We are governed by law and regulations to maintain law and order of our country and living in a civilised world, we should adhere to proper social etiquette that defines a civilised society hence, a total freedom of speech like mocking people’s religion cannot be accepted.
In a malicious article, entitled “Making monkeys out of us”, Malay Mail Online’s Boo Su-Lyn tries to justify the controversial and spiteful Nanyang Siang Pau’s ‘Monkey Act’ caricature on the pretext of press freedom.
Claiming it is not even offensive, Boo questions the actions taken by the authority and the complains made by the people and want the government to allow people to say whatever they want, as long as they do not advocate physical harm”; a situation made possible only in a fantasy world.
For most opposition-inclined activists, freedom of speech only applies to them, hence they are free to slur and mock others but not the other way around.
Below are with my answers (blue) to all Boo’s “Making monkeys out of us” (red).


APRIL 14 — When I applied seven years ago to be a journalist, my boss told me that my job was to report the “facts”, not the “truth”, since I was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed wannabe-activist then.
Along the way, I gradually learned the difference between the two. Now, of course, we have “alternative facts” and “fake news.”
For example, Boo Su-Lyn’s “alternative facts”, “fake news”, fake facts and malicious accusations regarding Islam.
What is worse – beyond those terms that Malaysia has long used even before Donald Trump became US president – are the increased incidents of censorship and attacks on press freedom and freedom of speech.
We do not live in the dark ages and we are a civilised society. A gross slur on the country’s religion and the authorities on the pretext of “press freedom and freedom of speech” is wrong and uncivilised. Furthermore, Malaysia is not a lawless country, we are all governed by law. 
It’s hard to report the facts under such circumstances.
Yes, it is hard to report real facts when the truth must be spun.
In the latest incident, the Home Ministry has summoned the editor-in-chief of Nanyang Siang Pau over its cartoon on the RUU355 issue that depicted PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia as monkeys.
Is Boo saying that the apology from Nanyang Siang Pau is not sincere and that the slur on Islam and the parliamentary procedure is only part of  Nanyang’s “press freedom and freedom of speech”?
The Tuesday announcement came hours after PAS Youth and several Muslim NGOs staged a protest outside the Chinese-language newspaper’s office.
If it is true that the Nanyang Siang Pau’s apology is just a deception as indirectly implied by Boo, no wonder PAS Youth members took the action. Furthermore PAS Youth and the Muslim NGOs are just expressing their freedom of speech” and freedom of expression.
The police have also waded in and said they’ll launch an investigation, with the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) warning the media against publishing “sensitive” cartoons.
It seems like the PDRM, especially the Inspector-General of Police is the ‘prime target’ for Boo and her gangs; therefore it proves the integrity and professionalism of the police force so far.
Nanyang was simply mocking the RUU355 debacle that has seen the fifth tabling of Hadi’s Bill – which seeks to enhance Shariah punishments – without resulting in a debate and vote.
The way Boo puts it, when she refers the parliamentary procedure as “the RUU355 debacle”, shows that she herself is mocking and debasing the long process of tabling the Act; which shows people like Boo Su-Lyn have no empathy and respect towards the rights of others.
The amendment of Act 355 is important to the Muslims who are the majority population of Malaysia. It is a move to uphold Islam as the religion of the Federation, so mocking such a very sensitive matter is uncalled for.
Alas, the arrogant Boo is mocking the process by referring it as “the RUU355 debacle”.
Last Thursday, the Speaker postponed the debate after allowing opening arguments from PAS, saying: “If you don’t use your power, you are a bloody fool. Today, I don’t want to be a bloody fool.”
The Speaker had to deal Lim Kit Siang and a few other opposition Members of Parliament who were behaving like spoiled children trying to disrupt a parliamentary process and denying the rights and the power of the Speaker in carrying out his duty as the the presiding officer of the Dewan Rakyat.
The Nanyang cartoon shows the “Hadi” monkey offering the RUU355 “hot potato” to the “Pandikar” monkey, who leaps off the tree saying, “Keep it for next time”, as a bunch of monkeys get into a fight below. The cartoon is captioned: “Monkeys playing tricks”, with the word “tricks” referencing the Bill.
Was the cartoon offensive? Opinions are sure to differ.
A person does not have to be smart to answer the above questions.
 1) The cartoon is offensive to the supporters of the amendment of Act 355 because matters relating upholding Islam is a “no-mocking’ matters to the Muslims.
 2) The cartoon is not offensive to people like Boo Su-Lyn because they are the ones who are the mocker or the trouble makers.
To me, calling someone a “bitch” or a “slut” is far more offensive than calling them a “monkey.” Yet, the police aren’t hunting down people who make such offensive remarks against women online.
Another deception of truth using an out of context argument. This is not just another case of name-calling or people make rude and offensive remarks as published daily by the opposition and the ‘opposition-inclined’ news portals, for example Free Malaysia Today and Malay Mail Online.
Nanyang is bounded by regulations and law because we are not living in dark ages or in a lawless country where anyone can do just anything they fancy.
Even if Boo Su-Lyn tells people to call her monkey, she has no right to tell the Muslims to let non-Muslims humiliate Islam by implying the amendment of Act 355 is like a monkey business; after all the caricature was titled “Monkey Act” (as translated by most reports) for a reason, isn’t it?
Why should a newspaper face State action over a caricature when Hadi is free to call the DAP a piece of “shit”? To be clear, I’m not advocating for police investigations against Hadi.
Is she serious? The newspaper insults Islam while Dato’ Seri Haji Hadi did not insult any religion. Islam is the religion of the Federation but DAP is only a political party and not even a religion. Dato’ Seri Haji Hadi said that DAP is a piece of “shit” from PAP, a rude way to say that DAP is a spin-off from PAP. It is rude but not seditious nor malicious. DAP leaders not only slur PAS but they also make offensive and seditious statements towards Islam. In fact, Boo herself wrote a lot of malicious and seditious articles which are offensive to the Muslims. If Haji Hadi must be investigated, so must Boo Su-Lyn and DAP leaders.
The point is everyone should have the right to freedom of speech, no matter how crude and offensive they are.
So, Boo must now fight for the Speaker’s, PAS Youth’s and Muslim NGOs’ rights to their freedom of speech. It is not fair if the rights to go on a “crude and offensive” mocking spree is only bestowed on Boo and her gangs.
The Nanyang cartoon wasn’t even mocking Islam; it was just taking a jibe at the way Hadi’s Bill has been politicised for two whole years since it first appeared in Parliament’s Order Paper in April 2015.
Islam is a way of life and as a non-Muslim and especially an atheist Boo Su-Lyn has no right to comment about Islam. Neither PAS nor UMNO politicised the Bill.
A piece of legislation cannot be equated to a religion.
As an atheist, she fails to understand how people feel about their religion as she doesn’t even have a religion.
Malaysia is a multi-cultural society, which means that our lawmakers in Parliament come from diverse backgrounds. Just because a certain Bill touches on religion (in the case of RUU355, it’s specifically on the Shariah court system), it does not mean that those of other faiths cannot question it.
One need to be constitutionally literate in order to talk about legal matters. The fact that Malaysia is a multi-cultural society makes it crucial for the people to respect the rights of others as provided by the Federal Constitution. Please refer to Article 11(3) of the Federal Constitution before making a statement on this matter.
If that were the case, then we might as well prevent non-Muslim MPs from debating and voting on RUU355.
Muslims leaders obey the Federal Constitution and do not do things based only on emotion.
Or we might as well prevent Muslim MPs from debating and vosion ting on the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976, since its proposed ban on unilateral child conversions deals primarily with the rights of non-Muslim parents and children.
This is the problem when a person who is constitutionally illiterate comments on parliamentary procedure. It is unconstitutional to restrict the non-Muslims Members of Parliament from voting on matters regarding Islam in Parliament.
The intellectual growth of the nation will be stunted if people are not allowed to question or to make criticisms on topics like religion. Any religious belief, or even the lack of belief like atheism, should be subject to debate, criticism, and yes, even satire.
Please study the law of our country before making senseless comments. Boo Su-Lyn’s ‘logic’ on matters of religion is only accepted by the liberals. By the way, atheism is against both our Federal Constitution and Rukun Negara, so it has no legal standing according to the supreme law of our country.
Freedom of speech is especially necessary in cases where religion is used as a basis for policymaking, be it healthcare, education, marriage, or childbearing.
Policy making must be based on the ideology and the law of a country. We cannot force a secular country to make state policies based on religion and like wise we cannot force an Islamic country like Malaysia to make policies based on freedom of speech.
In Malaysia, religion features in many of our policies, which makes it all the more important to ensure that the interests of the citizenry are not sacrificed for someone’s personal beliefs.
In Malaysia, Islam is not merely “someone’s personal beliefs” but it is the religion of the Federation as enshrined by the Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution. “The interests of the citizenry are not sacrificed” by Islamic policies because it is only for the Muslims. Regarding the amendment of Act 355, it is the non-Muslims who are trying to deny the rights of the Muslims.
If Malaysia really wants to go all out in preserving “national harmony”, then they can look at Singapore which prosecuted teenager Amos Yee for insulting Christians and Muslims and more recently, fined and deported a Muslim imam for saying during Friday prayers: “God help us against Jews and Christians.” Singaporean authorities even gave stern warnings to two Facebook users in the imam’s case.
I agree that Malaysia should take stern actions on people who try to interfere with other people’s religion especially Islam, the religion of the Federation. Unlike Malaysia, Singapore is a country without a religion, thus all religions are at par as according to the Constitution of Singapore; so legal matters regarding religions cannot be the same for both countries.
Christians and Muslims are minority groups in Singapore, forming 18 per cent and 15 per cent of the population respectively in the 2010 census. Buddhists and Taoists comprise the biggest religious group at 44 per cent. A significant percentage, 17 per cent, say they have no religious affiliation.
So Malaysia can take the Singapore route if it wants to and prosecute criticism and insults of any religion, without being biased towards a certain faith.
In the High Court decision of the case, Meor Atiqulrahman bin Ishak & Ors v Fatimah Sihi & Ors[2000]  1 MLJ 393, the then Justice Mohd Noor Abdullah had clearly clarified that other religions have no equal standing as Islam:

In my opinion, “Islam is the religion of the Federation but other religions may be practied in peace and harmony” means that Islam is the main religion among other religions that are practied in the country such as Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and others. Islam is not equal to any other religion, not sitting together or stand upright. It sits on top, he walked past, located in the field and his voice heard. Islam is like teak trees – tall, strong and skilled. If not so Islam is not the religion of the Federation but is one among several religions practised in the country and everyone is equally free to practice any religion he professes, no more one than the other. Provisions ‘Islam is the religion of the Federation’ shall be defined and reviewed with the objective to read other provisions of the Constitution, especially Article 89, 152, 153 and 14.

If “national harmony” is the reason for clamping down on freedom of speech, it’s preferable to go after those who mock any religion rather than take action against people who criticise a certain faith.
Boo Su-Lyn is either delusional or in a bad faith accused that it is lawful to mock any religion but Islam in Malaysia.
This way, everyone will be happy and there will be genuine “national” peace and harmony across race and religion.
In case Boo is unaware, the president of Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (ISMA) was charged in court under the Sedition Act 1948 for questioning the citizenship of the Chinese.
Of course, the best way for our country to develop intellectually is to truly protect fundamental liberties and to allow people to say whatever they want, as long as they do not advocate physical harm.
Fundamental liberties is stated in Part II of the Federal Constitution and as we live in Malaysia, we follow the Malaysian laws.
We shouldn’t try to be like robotic Singapore. Instead Malaysia should aim higher and allow the diversity of thought and opinion to flourish.
The opposition had always named Singapore as an example which Malaysia should follow, but now they don’t want Malaysia to become like “robotic Singapore”; cherry picking again.
Singapore has both the Internal Security Act 1985 and Sedition Act 1948, while Malaysia was forced to abolish the Internal Security Act 1960 by human right activists and is left with only the Sedition Act which is now under attack by the same group. Weirdly, the same group praises Singapore for its law-and-order policy.
If Boo lives in Singapore, I am doubtful if she dares to do what she is doing now. If Malaysia is as what portrayed by Boo, she would have been charged under the Sedition Act a long time ago. But she is still free to slur seditious and spiteful statements with malicious intent about Islam that can promote ill will and hostility or hatred between different races and religions of Malaysia, which is chargeable under both Section 3(1)(e) and Section (3)(1)(ea) of the Sedition Act 1948.
She must be thankful that at least she is has yet  to be charged for making seditious statements. This proves that Malaysia does support freedom of speech. If not, not only Boo but a lot others including some online portals have been charged for making or publishing malicious and spiteful contents.

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Grow Up, MCA!

31 03 2017

“Malaysia is a secular country” – that is a very popular myth concocted and supported by people who are obviously constitutionally illiterate and clueless about the interpretation of the Federal Constitution of our country.

MCA Legal Affairs Bureau Chairman Datuk Tay Puay Chuan’s press statement  which was published on the MCA website yesterday (March 30, 2017) with the title, “Federal Constitution remains the supreme law of the nation” is part of the series of false and baseless accusations by certain groups to undermined the core principals of our country.

Tay Puay Chuan who clearly does not (or pretended not to) understand the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, as well as the definition of secularism, made several false accusations regarding the position of Islam in Malaysia, using the recycled baseless arguments which had been answered by many people for years.

I’ve written so many articles on this currently “hot issue” trying to open the minds of these people but then, it seems that some people just prefer to live in denial.

Below is the press statement (orange) together with my answers (blue) to all his twisted facts and wild accusations regarding Islam as the religion of the Federation.


I would like to stress again that the status of Islam as the religion of the federation, the roots of the Islamic law nationwide are granted by the Federal Constitution. This ascertains that the Federal Constitution is the supreme law of Malaysia

It is true that the Federal Constitution of Malaysia is the supreme law of the Federation as mentioned in Article 4 of the Federal Constitution, but Islam as the religion of the Federation is placed in the Article 3(1) which is in a higher order of precedence of the Articles. Therefore it gives Islam a higher position than the supreme law itself, meaning the supreme law of the land must be subjected to Islam as the religion of the Federation. This was mentioned by the then Federal Court Judge, Tan Sri Apandi Ali in the Court of Appeal judgement of Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur v. Kementrian Dalam Negeri & Kerajaan Malaysia, also known as the Kalimah Allah case.

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

This is in response to the booklet by Institute Kajian Strategik Islam Malaysia (IKSIM) on the ’10 Salah Tanggapan Tentang Kedudukan Islam di Malaysia (10 Misconceptions about the Position of Islam in Malaysia)’, in which it included topics that either directly wrote or implied that ‘Malaysia is not a secular country;’ ‘rejecting claims that Islam is lower than the Constitution;’ ‘As an Islamic  nation, Islamic system is the thrust;’ as well as ‘other religions have no equal standing; and ‘the nation does  not carry the responsibility to safeguard and defend other religions.’

Malaysian leaders of all religions must be constitutionally literate and uphold the Federal Constitution including Article 3(1) that enshrines Islam as the religion of the Federation making Malaysia an Islamic nation. All the Articles in the Federal Constitution must be read together and people cannot just cherry-pick what they like and interpret the Articles according to their fancy to serve their agendas. In the High Court decision of the case, Meor Atiqulrahman bin Ishak & Ors v Fatimah Sihi & Ors[2000]  1 MLJ 393, the then Justice Mohd Noor Abdullah had clearly clarified that other religions have no equal standing as Islam: 

In my opinion, “Islam is the religion of the Federation but other religions may be practied in peace and harmony” means that Islam is the main religion among other religions that are practied in the country such as Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and others. Islam is not equal to any other religion, not sitting together or stand upright. It sits on top, he walked past, located in the field and his voice heard. Islam is like teak trees – tall, strong and skilled. If not so Islam is not the religion of the Federation but is one among several religions practised in the country and everyone is equally free to practice any religion he professes, no more one than the other. Provisions ‘Islam is the religion of the Federation’ shall be defined and reviewed with the objective to read other provisions of the Constitution, especially Article 89, 152, 153 and 14.

Even though people of other religions can practise their religions (as long as they are in peace and harmony with Islam), there is no provision in the Federal Constitution to protect other religions except Islam, for example, the Article 11(4).

IKSIM must be alerted that the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution also explains that Islamic law is for persons professing the religion of Islam on matters related to succession, marriage, divorce, etc.

I have read the booklet and in the booklet, IKSIM has never said that the Islamic law has the jurisdiction over people professing other religions other than Islam.

The Federal Constitution is THE supreme law of the nation, and the supremacy of the Constitution renders Islam as the religion of the federation whilst other religions are allowed to be practised freely.

That is not only a false but also a malicious statement. The Constitution has never stated that “other religions can be practised freely” in any of its Articles or Schedules. Article 11(1) says that, Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and, subject to Clause (4), to propagate it” while Article 3(1) clearly says, “Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation”. So, there is no phrase such as “other religions can be practised freely” in both Articles. Maybe Tay came across the word “bebas” in the Perjanjian Kerjasama Pakatan Harapan – PPBM and was confused by it.

As for the phrase, “in peace and harmony”, it was clearly interpreted by the then Federal Court Judge, Tan Sri Apandi Ali in the Court of Appeal case of Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur v Kementerian Dalam Negeri & Kerajaan Malaysia.

Such publication will surely have an adverse effect upon the sanctity as envisaged under Article 3(1) and the right for other religions to be practiced in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation. Any such disruption of the even tempo is contrary to the hope and desire of peaceful and harmonious co-existence of other religions other than Islam in this country.

Malaysia is a secular country. In fact, the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution, Supreme Court judgement enables the implementation of secular laws in the country, which includes both criminal and civil laws. These laws apply to the entire country, irrespective of race and religion. Similarly, the Federal Constitution also provides that Islamic law may only be used on persons professing the religion of Islam. Therefore, Islamic law is not for everyone. Only secular laws may be applied to everyone. Hence, this is one of the proofs which shows that Malaysia is a secular country.

Contrary to what was argued by Tay, the fact that Malaysia has two court systems, the civil court systems and the Syariah Court systems proves that Malaysia is not a secular country.

By the way, does Tay understand the meaning of the word secularism? George Jacob Holyoake, the creator of the term secularism defined 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. It also contradicts with other Articles of the Constitution such as the Articles 11(4), 12, 37, 76A, 121(1A) and others.

As I wrote in my article for the news portal Menara, in a secular country, the State does not have a religion and cannot has anything to do in relation to religion, for example in the case of Mount Soledad Easter Cross in San Diego, California.

Hence, by calling Malaysia a secular country, Tay slanders and challenges both the Federal Constitution and the definition of secularism.

Syariah law which is currently applied across all states, is the provision of rights granted to all state governments on the law as outlined in the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution. It is stated with a condition that the criminal penalties and jurisdictions of the Syariah Court cannot contravene the Federal Constitution, or it will be considered void and unconstitutional.

The jurisdiction of the Syariah Courts does not contravene the Federal Constitution because it was conferred by the Federal Constitution in Item 1 of the Second List in the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution also states that: Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.

This again shows that other religions are also protected by the Federal Constitution. Hence the claims made in the booklet that the country has no obligation to defend nor protect other religions are incorrect. Instead, our nation and the government have the responsibility of defending all religions in line with the Articles and spirit of the Federal Constitution.

What a mind blowing senseless argument! It shows that either Tay is truly constitutionally illiterate or he, in bad faith is trying to deny and debase the position of Islam in our Federal Constitution because his argument is against the core principals of the supreme law of the land. In the Court of Appeal judgement of Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur v. Kementrian Dalam Negeri & Kerajaan Malaysia, Tan Sri Apandi Ali said that the purpose of “in peace and harmony” were added to Article 3(1) is to protect the sanctity of Islam, and not to defend other religions as claimed by Tay.

It is my judgment that the purpose and intention of the insertion of the words: “in peace and harmony” in Article 3(1) is to protect the sanctity of Islam as the religion of the country and also to insulate against any threat faced or any possible and probable threat to the religion of Islam.

Therefore, Tay must be constitutionally illiterate if he really thinks that the Federal Constitution conferred Malaysia as a secular country, all religions have equal standing and the nation carries the responsibility to safeguard and defend other religions other than Islam.

It is a known fact that during the 13th General Election, MCA won it seats mostly because of the Malay voters, so this kind of attitude is not a gracious way to thank the voters who had graciously voted for the party candidates regardless of their race and religion. MCA must grow up and stop imitating DAP in debasing Islam and the Malays in trying to win the Chinese votes because it won’t work.  

We are now constitutionally literate and therefore the people are not stupid to easily be fooled by concocted lies. Is it too much for me to hope for leaders to understand and uphold the core principals of my country as clearly stated in the Federal Constitution and stop misinterpreting the supreme law of the land for their political and personal agendas?

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