The Federal Constitution remains supreme if there is a clash between the Federal Constitution and other laws including the Shariah laws, says Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing.
Thus, Masing opined that by referring the Civil Court case to Shariah Court on the issue of apostasy involving Salina Jau Abdullah, Jenny Peter @ Nur Muzdhalifah Abdullah, and Tiong Choo Ting @ Mohd Syafiq Abdullah the court was evading the Civil Court’s responsibility.
“Article 11 (1) of the Federal Constitution states that every person has the right to profess and practise his religion and, subject to Clause (4), to propagate it. Therefore, Article 11 (1) states that there is freedom of religion in Malaysia.
“If there is a clash between the Federal Constitution and other laws including Shariah laws, the Federal Constitution holds supreme. Thus, referring to Shariah Court by the Civil Court on this issue of ‘murtad’ is evading their responsibility,” he said.
Masing was commenting on the Court of Appeal in Kuching’s decision on Wednesday in dismissing the trio’s appeal who wanted to leave Islam.
The three-member bench led by Justice Tengku Dato Maimum Tuan Mat, Datuk Dr Badariah Sahamid and Datuk Kamardin Hashim ruled that the question on whether the trio could leave Islam, should be brought to the Shariah Court.
The trio named the director of the Sarawak Islamic Department, Sarawak Islamic Council and the National Registration Department (NRD) as respondents.
All three of them want to compel the Sarawak Islamic Department and the council to issue letters of release (surat murtad) to the applicants to be released from the religion of Islam.
They also sought to compel the director-general of NRD to change the Muslim names of the applicants to their original names.
Jonathan Chia, firstname.lastname@example.org