Hornbill Unleashed

March 27, 2017

Former chief justice’s statement completely without basis – Baru

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:03 AM

The statement by former chief justice (ex-CJ) Tun Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim that any laws which run contrary to Islamic scriptures are null and void is completely without basis, says state PKR chairman Baru Bian.

Baru, who is a senior lawyer, pointed out that Ahmad Fairuz’s statement was not supported by any compelling legal argument but on his feeling, as he was reported as saying: “I feel anything which is in contradiction to Islam is unconstitutional”.

Baru stated that the ex-CJ’s simplistic misinterpretation of Article 3 of the Federal Constitution is a contradiction of Article 4, which he conveniently ignored.

“As an ex-CJ, he should know that Malaysia was formed to be a secular country and remains a secular country. Article 3 of the Federal Constitution does not import the meaning that Shariah is the supreme law of Malaysia but on the contrary there is strong legal and academic opinion that Malaysia is in fact a secular country.

“This is recognised by the Supreme Court in Che Omar bin Che Soh v Public Prosecutor [1988] 2 MLJ 55, and the ex-CJ should be very aware of this case,” he said in a press statement yesterday.

Ahmad Fairuz, when giving a lecture on ‘Islam as the Law of the Land’ on last Saturday, was reported to have said that Islamic law is the second most supreme legislation in Malaysia and any other laws that run contrary to it are void.

In his interpretation, Ahmad Fairuz said anything that is in contradiction to Islam or anything that goes against Islamic laws’ main sources, which are the Quran and Sunnah, is unconstitutional.

The reason for his opinion, he said, is because the Quran, Sunnah, and the traditions and practices of Prophet Muhammad are the main source of Islamic laws. Hence, he said, reading Article 3 and 4 of the Federal Constitution together means that any laws contradicting Islamic scriptures are void.

Baru pointed out that Article 4 of the Federal Constitution declares it simply: “This Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation…. As said by Raja Azlan Shah in 2003: This essential feature of the Federal Constitution ensures that the social contract between the various races of our country embodied in the independence Constitution of 1957 is safeguarded and forever endures to the Malaysian people as a whole, for their benefit.”

Therefore, he said, the Federal Constitution – and not the Syariah or Hudud – is the supreme law of the Federation.

Furthermore, Baru said the nation’s founding father, Tuanku Abdul Rahman, stated it plainly in Parliament as recorded in the hansard on May 1, 1958: ‘I would like to make it clear that this country is not an Islamic State as it is generally understood, we merely provided that Islam shall be the official religion of the State’.

“Does Ahmad Fairuz also claim to speak for Sarawak? For us, the stand is crystal clear. The report of the Cobbold Commission, the Inter-Governmental Committee Report and the 1963 Malaysia Agreement reflect the people’s wishes that there should be no official religion for Sarawak.

“One of the safeguards in the 18-Point agreement is that ‘While there was no objection to Islam being the national religion of Malaysia there should be no State religion in Sarawak, and the provisions relating to Islam in the present Constitution of Malaya should not apply to Sarawak’.”

Baru said the importance placed on Sarawak having no official religion and on our freedom of religion is reflected in these points being the first of the 18/20 points in the Malaysia Agreement, and stated clearly in the Cobbold Report.

“Furthermore, our forefathers had signed the Malaysia Agreement with a secular state, and that must remain so.”

Baru then cited constitutional lawyer Tommy Thomas who presented a paper on ‘The Social Contract: Malaysia’s Constitutional Covenant’ at Malaysian Law Conference in Kuala Lumpur, 2007, as saying: “in addition to enjoying constitutional status, the 20 points also have international law status as being part of treaty obligations between sovereign nations. In consequence, if any provision of the 20 points is breached, the United Kingdom can, in law, take up the matter; whether, as a political fact, its government does so is an altogether different matter. Further, such a breach may be justifiable in the Courts of England and Malaysia.”

Besides that, Baru said Ahmad Fairuz’s further remarks that Muslims do not care about equality and are happy to have hudud implemented in this country was also completely baseless.

“Does he have any research to back up his statement? How can he claim to speak for all Muslims in the country, including Sarawakian Muslims? The weight of his remark is about the same as that of someone’s insistence that the earth is flat.”

He said it is indeed unfortunate that we have an ex-CJ seemingly learned in the law yet making such a gross error in his interpretation of our Constitution.

Source : @ Borneo Post Online


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