Professor: Only Parliament can limit freedom of expression

Source: FMT News

Pic from FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: Freedom of expression, one of the fundamental liberties enshrined in the Federal Constitution, can only be limited by laws passed in Parliament, says law academic Azmi Sharom.

He described the ban on the Bahasa Malaysia version of Allah, Liberty and Love by Irshad Manji, Azmi as frightening, arguing that the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) had used the Syariah Criminal Offences (Selangor) Enactment 1995 to ban the book.

He explained Article 10 of the Federal Constitution was extremely clear in that it guaranteed Malaysian citizens the right to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association.

This freedom, however, was not absolute, he said, as Parliament had the power to impose limits, if necessary, in the interests of national security, public order and morality.

“Here’s the clincher. This ban was done under state shariah law.

“Freedom of expression can only be limited by laws made by Parliament — not the Selangor state assembly. That is not Parliament. Read more

Ku Li: I won’t support any bill against constitution

Ku Li - Pic from FMT News

Ku Li – Pic from FMT News

Source: FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah today said he will not support any bill that contravenes the Federal Constitution.

This includes the private member’s Bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, which seeks to enhance punishment for Muslims who commit offences under shariah law.

“If anything comes to the Dewan Rakyat and if it is against the constitution, I will not support it because I have taken an oath to uphold the constitution. It is not just on this bill,” he said.

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Hadi’s Bill opens doors for disproportionate punishments, constitutional expert says

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Professor Datuk Shad Saleem Faruqi speaks at the forum 'Sejauh mana anda memahami hudud' at the PAUM Club House in Kuala Lumpur February 12, 2017. — Picture by Boo Su-Lyn

Professor Datuk Shad Saleem Faruqi speaks at the forum ‘Sejauh mana anda memahami hudud’ at the PAUM Club House in Kuala Lumpur February 12, 2017. — Picture by Boo Su-Lyn

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 — A private member’s Bill to enhance Shariah punishments will enable excessive sentences for religious offences that mostly victimless and non-violent, Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi said today.

The constitutional expert said the Bill by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang will also allow penalties for Shariah offences that are harsher than even punishments for heavier crimes in the civil system.

“Punishment must be proportionate to the offence committed,” the University of Malaya’s emeritus professor of law said in a forum on understanding the Islamic penal code of hudud organised by Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

“You’re going to have penalties of 100 lashes, RM100,000 fine, or 30 years’ jail for offences that are in some cases are purely victimless crimes. Some of Shariah crimes are victimless crimes — a person drinks, doesn’t pray, doesn’t fast — there is no clear harm to public order and national security.

“In Criminal Procedure Code, Penal Code, the offences are much lesser for much bigger offences,” Shad said. Read more

Tukar agama: Undang-undang persekutuan atasi negeri, kata Azalina

Sumber: FMT News

Pindaan kepada undang-undang negeri tidak boleh digunakan sekiranya pindaan Akta Membaharui Undang-Undang (Perkahwinan dan Perceraian) 1976 diluluskan

Perlis legislative assembly approved the Islamic Religion Administration Enactment (Amendment) 2016 Bill by a 13-1 majority on 9 December 2016. Image taken from FMT News.

Perlis legislative assembly approved the Islamic Religion Administration Enactment (Amendment) 2016 Bill by a 13-1 majority on 9 December 2016. Image taken from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Undang-undang persekutuan mengatasi undang-undang negeri sekiranya berlaku ketaktekalan, kata Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Azalina Othman.

Maka, sekiranya kerajaan persekutuan berjaya meminda Akta Membaharui Undang-Undang (Perkahwinan dan Perceraian) 1976 (LRA), pindaan enakmen Perlis yang didakwa membolehkan anak diislamkan dengan persetujuan ibu atau bapa sahaja tidak boleh boleh digunakan.

Menurut Azalina, Dewan Undangan Negeri Perlis berhak meminda Enakmen Pentadbiran Agama Islam 2006.

“Pada masa yang sama, rang undang-undang yang dibentangkan kerajaan untuk meminda LRA tepat pada masanya dan langkah yang positif.

“Sekiranya pindaan diluluskan, ia akan menjadi undang-undang persekutuan.

“Adalah dimaklumkan Perkara 75 Perlembagaan Persekutuan menyatakan mana-mana undang-undang negeri yang berlawanan dengan undang-undang persekutuan, maka undang-undang persekutuan mengatasinya,” katanya beliau dalam satu kenyataan hari ini.

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Conservatively speaking freely — Tunku ‘Abidin Muhriz

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY TUNKU ‘ABIDIN MUHRIZ

opinion-clipart-k12118272DECEMBER 9 — Young Malaysians know the world is getting more competitive than ever, that companies and entire sectors can rise and fall dramatically, and that an event in a place they never heard of can somehow affect their lives in Malaysia.

Even though some things might seem inevitable, like transformative technological improvements, not everyone will be able to access, or indeed desire, the fruit of these changes. Combined with the volatility of oil prices, the state of our currency or even the challenge of finding a job, a great many are uncertain about the future.

The root causes of much of this uncertainty lie in geopolitics. Read more

What system of governance: Theocracy, democracy or secular? — Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY JAHABERDEEN MOHAMED YUNOOS

An opinion piece - file pic

An opinion piece – file pic

SEPT 19 — To me, and I repeat, to me, it is not about being obsessed with the label of “secular” or “Islamic” country though I do not have serious problems with people using the term. I try to understand what they are actually saying as the substance is more important than the label.

My position is clear: I do not support oppressive regimes or ideas whether they are labelled “secular” or “Islamic”. To be clear, I do not support a “secular system” that is anti religion as that is oppressive of a person’s faith. Likewise I do not support an “Islamic system” that takes away the professed Muslim’s inherent right to serve Allah as he understands it from the Quran as that is equally oppressive of faith.

In any case, I believe the practice of one’s faith or religion should not be allowed to affect national security, general public order, peace and harmony in the country or deny the basic fundamental rights and liberties of other citizens guaranteed under our Federal Constitution.

A theocratic state is often understood to be a political State which is founded on a particular religion. A theocracy may be defined as a form of government which defers not to civil development of law, but to an interpretation of the ‘will of a God’ as set out in religious scripture and authorities.  Read more

Preserve, Respect and Uphold the Supremacy of the Federal Constitution — Malaysian Bar

Press Release

Preserve, Respect and Uphold the Supremacy of the Federal Constitution

The Malaysian Bar is extremely concerned over recent attempts by certain parties to ignore or reject entrenched principles in our supreme law, namely the Federal Constitution.[1]

It was reported that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Dato’ Seri Jamil Khir Baharom (“Minister”) said that “the laws to ban unilateral conversion contravenes [sic] Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution which states the religion of a minor under the age of 18 can be determined by their respective mother or father”.[2]

The Minister’s remarks are erroneous.  Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution provides: “For the purposes of Clause (3), the religion of a person under the age of eighteen years shall be decided by his parent or guardian” (emphasis added).[3]  Article 12(4) must be read with the interpretation provisions in the Federal Constitution — Article 160 and the Eleventh Schedule — that provide that all words in the singular also include the plural.  Hence, the religion of children under the age of 18 is to be decided by both parents, where both parents are alive.

The Minister apparently relied on the Federal Court’s decision in the case of Subashini Rajasingam v Saravanan Thangathoray [2008] 2 CLJ 1, but regrettably his understanding of the case is flawed.  There was no binding judicial pronouncement in that case on the meaning of the word “parent” in Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution.[4]  It is pertinent that the Federal Court recently granted leave to appeal (by consent of all parties) in the Indira Gandhi case on the issue of whether both parents (if both are still surviving) of a child of a civil marriage must consent before a certificate of conversion to Islam can be issued in respect of that child. Read more

Rukunegara should be made the national ideology, G25 member says

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim said several incidents in recent years have threatened national unity and that although they were largely due to political posturing, their recurrence could create fear and instability, ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim said several incidents in recent years have threatened national unity and that although they were largely due to political posturing, their recurrence could create fear and instability, ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 — Malaysia should revive the spirit of the Rukunegara by formally adopting it as the country’s national ideology and use it to curb racial and religious tensions here before they affect national unity and the economy, a member of G25 said today.

Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim said several incidents in recent years have threatened national unity and that although they were largely due to political posturing, their recurrence could create fear and instability.

“The incidents themselves are not frightening but the perception that they are politically motivated and tolerated by the law enforcement authorities is most damaging to the country’s reputation for social and political stability.

“It’s a black mark, which can be a drag on the country’s economy,” he said in a letter emailed to the press. Read more