Hornbill Unleashed

November 14, 2012

Mindsets must change

Nicole Tan Lee Koo

Malaysia needs leaders such as Nurul Izzah in order to progress, lest we stay in the Middle Ages’ mentality.

I read with much excitement the current debacle over Nurul Izzah Anwar’s statement that there should be no compulsion in religion and that it applies to Muslims as well.

Nurul Izzah is right in saying that all Malaysians, including Malays, have the right of freedom of religion, that is freedom to choose their own religion. This is a basic fundamental right as enshrined in Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.

The legal perspective. Article 11 of the Federal Constitution provides that every person has the right to profess and practice his own religion. Every person has the right to propagate his religion, but the law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among Muslims.

Article 160 defines a Malay as inter alia a person who professes to be a Muslim, habitually speaks the Malay language, and adheres to Malay customs.

Article 11 contains a proviso only against proselytising to Muslims but not a proviso against professing another religion.

If a person who habitually speaks Malay and practices Malay customs but does not profess to be a Muslim is by definition not a “Malay” under the constitution.

I agree with constitutional lawyer Malik Imtiaz when he said that Nurul’s statement was consistent with the Federal Constitution. As Malik Imtiaz rightly opined, ”Malaysia is not an Islamic state, Malaysia is a secular state and the constitution is the supreme law of the land”, in Malaysia the Federal Constitution prevails.

Article 11 prevails. Article 160 merely defines who a “Malay” is.

What the scriptures say

Since I am not a Muslim scholar, I shall be reiterating what other people wrote on the scriptural perspective.

Surah Al-Baqara 2:256 : “Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth has been made clear from error. Whoever rejects false worship and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things.”

Surah Al-Imran 3: 85 : “And whoever desires other than Islam as religion, never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers. How shall God guide a people who disbelieved after their belief and had witnessed that the Messenger is true and clear signs had come to them?”

I totally agree with Haris Ibrahim’s scathing article against Nasharudin Mat Isa that even God allowed the freedom of religion under Surah Al-Imran 3: 85-90 albeit those who chose to leave Islam shall be condemned to Hell.

Anisah Sukry’s article is like a compendium on freedom of religion with legal, scholarly and scriptural references.

She deftly argued that what Nurul Izzah said is nothing new and has basis both in the Quran and in the viewpoints of certain Islamic scholars.

My favourite is the one by the former chief judge of Pakistan, SA Rahman who wrote “There is absolutely no mention in the Quran of mundane punishment for defection from the faith by a believer, except in the shape of deprivation of the spiritual benefits of Islam or of the civil status and advantages that accrue to an individual as a member of the well-knit fraternity of Muslims.”

“He should, however, be free to profess and propagate the faith of his choice, so long as he keeps within the bounds of law and morality, and to enjoy all other rights as a peaceful citizen of the State, in common with his Muslim co-citizens.”

SA Rahman also added that apostasy is an offence in the realm of the rights of God, rather than the rights of mankind, thus there would be no pressing necessity to punish a peaceful change of faith.

DAP life adviser Dr Chen Man Hin said that the threat of apostasy was used frequently in the Middle Ages. Then,Christianity was a very strict religion. Wrongdoings were frequently said to be heresy and apostasy.

One outstanding example was Joan of Arc. Her enemies used the church to discredit her despite her many exploits of heroism for France.  She was burned at the stake for heresy.

Mindsets must change

Sadly, some people in Malaysia are possessed with minds mired in the Dark Ages. Any Malay or Muslim who dares to think differently is quickly accused of apostasy. He or she is ostracised and denied the rights of a citizen.

The mindset of the our people must change. Nurul Izzah wants young Malaysians to be free and open minded so that they will be the scientists who can create a new society. She wants to encourage the people to be adventurous and enterprising so that Malaysia can play a dynamic role in the new century which is destined to be an Asian Century.

Nurul Izzah is a courageous and conscientious leader. Malaysia needs such leaders in order to progress lest we stay in the Middle Ages’ mentality.

All the three Abrahamic faiths allowed for free will, lest we all become like robots. The choice is ours and we bear the consequences of our choices.

Nurul Izzah has opened up a fundamental truth that religious freedom is for all.


  1. After more than 50 years of spoon-feeding, their minds have degenerated into “HP6” quality.

    It will take 50 x 100 years to reverse the effect … sorry to say too late.

    Comment by tigeryk — November 15, 2012 @ 12:57 PM | Reply

  2. We are all trained and taught to think wisely; choose what is best for yourself. This is the utmost difference between human and the rest of the species species. As such I choose the job I want, food I want, opposite sex I want, leisurely activity I want and why not a faith that I believe will lead to salvation. Nurul Izzah hit the nail on the head here. Very good job YB.

    Comment by professor dee — November 14, 2012 @ 4:02 PM | Reply



    Nine Cardinal Principles of the rule of the English Rajah
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    The Nine Cardinal Principles of the rule of the English Rajah is the Preamble of the Sarawak Constitution 1941, the document setting forth the Sarawak Constitution 1941 opened by enunciating the Cardinal Principle were edict by Charles Vyner Brooke, the White Rajah of Sarawak on 24 September 1941 known as the Nine Cardinal Principles of the rule of the White Rajah later adopted into the Nine Cardinal Principles of the rule of the English Rajah,[1] these were;

    1. That Sarawak is the heritage of Our Subjects and is held in trust by Ourselves for them.

    2. That social and education services shall be developed and improved and the standard of living of the people of Sarawak shall steadily be raised.

    3. That never shall any person or persons be granted rights inconsistent with those of the people of this country or be in any way permitted to exploit Our Subjects or those who have sought Our protection and care.

    4. That justice shall be freely obtainable and that the Rajah and every public servant shall be easily accessible to the public.

    5. That freedom of expression both in speech and in writing shall be permitted and encouraged and that everyone shall be entitled to worship as he pleases.

    6. That public servants shall ever remember that they are but the servants of the people on whose goodwill and co-operation they are entirely dependent.

    7. That so far as may be Our Subjects of whatever race or creed shall be freely and impartially admitted to offices in Our Service, the duties of which they may be qualified by their education, ability and integrity duly to discharge.

    8. That the goal of self-government shall always be kept in mind, that the people of Sarawak shall be entrusted in due course with the governance of themselves, and that continuous efforts shall be made to hasten the reaching of this goal by educating them in the obligations, the responsibilities, and the privileges of citizenship.

    9. That the general policy of Our predecessors and Ourselves whereby the various races of the State have been enabled to live in happiness and harmony together shall be adhered to by Our successors and Our servants and all who may follow them hereafter.







    Comment by ORANG2BANGKIT — November 14, 2012 @ 3:14 PM | Reply


    In case you guys did not know our Sarawak Sabah 18/20 Points Agreement said we are free to choose our religion and also they cannot stop using English forever.


    “there should be no State religion in North Borneo, and the provisions relating to Islam in the present Constitution of Malaya should not apply in North Borneo” (& Sarawak).

    This means the Sabah and Sarawak negotiators saw this as a no.1 issue- no imposition of Islam on Sabah and Sarawak!

    Reality check here: http://charleshector.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/malaysia-agreement-20-pointsabah-and-18.html

    18/20-Point Agreements

    SARAWAK/SABAH 18/20 POINTS AGREEMENT WHEN Helping to Form Malaysia (not join, NEVER applied but HELP FORM)

    Point 1: Religion
    While there was no objection to Islam being the national religion of Malaysia there should be no State religion in Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah), and the provisions relating to Islam in the present Constitution of Malaya should not apply to Borneo.

    Point 2: Language
    * a. Malay should be the national language of the Federation
    * b. English should continue to be used for a period of 10 years after Malaysia Day
    * c. English should be an official language of Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) for all purposes, State or Federal, without limitation of time.

    Point 3: Constitution
    Whilst accepting that the present Constitution of the Federation of Malaya should form the basis of the Constitution of Malaysia, the Constitution of Malaysia should be a completely new document drafted and agreed in the light of a free association of states and should not be a series of amendments to a Constitution drafted and agreed by different states in totally different circumstances. A new Constitution for Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) was of course essential.

    Point 4: Head of Federation
    The Head of State in Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) should not be eligible for election as Head of the Federation

    Point 5: Name of Federation
    “Malaysia” but not “Melayu Raya”

    Point 6: Immigration
    Control over immigration into any part of Malaysia from outside should rest with the Central Government but entry into Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) should also require the approval of the State Government. The Federal Government should not be able to veto the entry of persons into Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) for State Government purposes except on strictly security grounds. Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) should have unfettered control over the movements of persons other than those in Federal Government employ from other parts of Malaysia Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah).

    Point 7: Right of Secession
    There should be no right to secede from the Federation

    Point 8: Borneanisation
    Borneanisation of the public service should proceed as quickly as possible.

    Point 9: British Officers
    Every effort should be made to encourage British Officers to remain in the public service until their places can be taken by suitably qualified people from Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah)

    Point 10: Citizenship
    The recommendation in paragraph 148(k) of the Report of the Cobbold Commission should govern the citizenship rights in the Federation of Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) subject to the following amendments:
    * a) sub-paragraph (i) should not contain the proviso as to five years residence
    * b) in order to tie up with our law, sub-paragraph (ii)(a) should read “7 out of 10 years” instead of “8 out of 10 years”
    * c) sub-paragraph (iii) should not contain any restriction tied to the citizenship of parents – a person born in Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) after Malaysia must be federal citizen.

    Point 11: Tariffs and Finance
    Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) should retain control of its own finance, development and tariff, and should have the right to work up its own taxation and to raise loans on its own credit.

    Point 12: Special position of indigenous races
    In principle, the indigenous races of Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) should enjoy special rights analogous to those enjoyed by Malays in Malaya, but the present Malays’ formula in this regard is not necessarily applicable in Borneo(Sarawak & Sabah)

    Point 13: State Government
    * a) the Prime Minister should be elected by unofficial members of Legislative Council
    * b) There should be a proper Ministerial system in Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah)

    Point 14: Transitional period
    This should be seven years and during such period legislative power must be left with the State of Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) by the Constitution and not be merely delegated to the State Government by the Federal Government

    Point 15: Education
    The existing educational system of Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) should be maintained and for this reason it should be under state control

    Point 16: Constitutional safeguards
    No amendment modification or withdrawal of any special safeguard granted to Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) should be made by the Central Government without the positive concurrence of the Government of the State of North Borneo
    The power of amending the Constitution of the State of Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) shouldbelong exclusively to the people in the state. (Note: The United Party, The Democratic Party and the Pasok Momogun Party considered that a three-fourth majority would be required in order to effect any amendment to the Federal and State Constitutions whereas the UNKO and USNO considered a two-thirds majority would be sufficient)

    Point 17: Representation in Federal Parliament
    This should take account not only of the population of Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) but also of its seize and potentialities and in any case should not be less than that of Singapore

    Point 18: Name of Head of State
    Yang di-Pertua Negara

    Point 19: Name of State
    Sarawak or Sabah

    Point 20: Land, Forests, Local Government, etc.
    The provisions in the Constitution of the Federation in respect of the powers of the National Land Council should not apply in Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah). Likewise, the National Council for Local Government should not apply in Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah).

    Comment by ORANG2BANGKIT — November 14, 2012 @ 1:35 PM | Reply

    • Muslims should free themselves from mental enslavement by UMNO.

      Comment by Irene Kana — November 14, 2012 @ 10:47 PM | Reply

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