Religious group supports atheists’ rights

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 — Malaysia has no laws that force people to have a religious affiliation, a minority faith group told a deputy minister who claimed that atheism was illegal.

Jagir Singh, chairman of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) — Picture by Choo Choy May

Jagir Singh, chairman of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST), said that atheists are therefore free to profess their beliefs.

“Article 11(1) [of the Federal Constitution] gives the right to every person to profess and practise his religion. It is noted that a deputy minister has stated that it is not equal to freedom of religion, that is, every person must have a religion. There is nothing in the Federal Constitution, or any law in Malaysia that says every person must have a religion,” Jagir said.

On the Rukun Negara which lists “belief in God” as one of its principles, Jagir said it was included as most Malaysians were already professing their belief in religion.

According to the lawyer, the principle also meant that there was already due recognition that there were also some without any religious beliefs.

“Of course most Malaysians have [a] religion. This fact was recognised in the Rukun Negara. The first point being ‘belief in God’. It ascertains that most Malaysians have a religion,” said Jagir.

“This was the reason they included it as ‘kepercayaan kepada Tuhan’, and thus recognising that there may be some without religion .

“It must be remembered also, that Article 5(1) of the Federal Constitution provides that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty. To be atheist is not against any law,” he added. Read more

Interfaith group backs ex-IGP, says Malaysia not meant to be Islamic theocracy

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 ― The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) agreed with the view of a former top policeman who warned of trouble if the country turned into a theocracy.

The umbrella body representing non-Muslim religions said it fully supported former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Mohd Noor’s assertion that Malaysia was never meant to be an Islamic state or to have an official religion.

“MCCBCHST has consistently stated in the past that when Malaya gained Independence in 1957 and when Malaysia was formed in 1963, that there was no consideration or proposal for Malaya or Malaysia to be an Islamic Country,” the group said in a statement.

“Our forefathers had clearly envisioned Malaysia to be based on secular laws.

“That it would be unconstitutional and an attack on the ‘Core fabric’ of the constitution if one were to aspire for it to be an Islamic Country based on Islamic Laws including Hudud Offences”. Read more

Insert unilateral conversion ban or just scrap Bill altogether, faith group insists

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7- The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) has urged Putrajaya to reinstate a unilateral conversion ban clause which was earlier revoked from the a proposed Bill today.

Its vice president Jagir Singh told Malay Mail Online that since Section 88A in the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Bill 2016 has now been withdrawn, injustices will continue for a non-converting spouse whose children can then be unilaterally converted.

“Our council hopes that the newly-amended Bill which is due to be tabled tomorrow, if it does not include the requirement that both parents should consent, then it should be withdrawn altogether and brought back to the drawing board again.

“This is a big setback to the justice in such cases where the marriage is under the civil law, and one party has converted to Islam. This move will cause further injustice to the non-converting spouse,” Jagir said when contacted. Read more

Hadi contradicting himself on Constitution with Shariah Bill, interfaith group says

Source: The Malay Mail Online 

KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) chided PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang for trying to mislead Malaysians to support his controversial Shariah Bill by claiming it is in line with the Federal Constitution.

The umbrella group representing the country’s five main non-Islamic creeds argued that the Federal Constitution clearly spells out the extent of criminal offences as covered under Shariah law in the State List II (Schedule 9).

“Crimes such as theft, robbery, sodomy, etc. are already covered by the Penal Code and thus are out of the jurisdiction of a state. By now wanting to introduce hudud offences it actually has the effect of creating a parallel Syariah Criminal System which will be in conflict with the Federal Constitution and thus is unconstitutional,” the group said in a statement today.

The MCCBCHST claimed that Hadi was carrying out what he had advised others against, ie destroying the constitution, by seeking to introduce hudud penalties to a secular government. Read more

Interfaith group tells MPs to reject RUU355

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, March 3 — An interfaith group has urged lawmakers to oppose PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s proposed Bill to enhance Shariah punishments when it is tabled in the upcoming Parliament meeting.

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) stressed that the Federal Constitution was secular, pointing out that Malaysia’s first three prime ministers stated that the country was a secular one.

“As the Bill will have far-reaching consequences for the nation, the MCCBCHST feels duty bound to challenge our elected representatives in Parliament to do their duty as required by their solemn oath to preserve and protect the Federal Constitution which embodies the secular status of our country,” MCCBCHST said in a statement today. Read more

Malaysians shouldn’t have to go to court to correct religious status, interfaith group says

Source: The Malay Mail Online

MCCBCHST said many individuals have approached it over the decades because they have been wrongly designated as Muslims by the government. — Picture by Reuters

MCCBCHST said many individuals have approached it over the decades because they have been wrongly designated as Muslims by the government. — Picture by Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 — An interfaith group called today for new legislation and government policies so that Malaysians would not have to go to court to correct their religious status on paper.

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) welcomed the Court of Appeal’s recent decision to allow the appeal of Rosliza Ibrahim, who was born out of wedlock to a Muslim father and a Buddhist mother, for a legal declaration that Shariah courts do not have jurisdiction over her.

“The Cabinet and Parliament must take steps to formulate an inclusive policy and enact relevant laws respectively to resolve disputes faced by people like Rosliza Ibrahim,” said MCCBCHST in a statement. Read more

Court of Appeal preserved and protected the Constitution — MCCBCHST

Source: The Malay Mail Online

PRESS STATEMENT

OCTOBER 21 — The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) welcomes the decision of the Court of Appeal on October 11, 2016, allowing the appeal of Rosliza Ibrahim; a woman who was born out of wedlock to a Buddhist mother, was raised a Buddhist and continues to profess Buddhism as an adult.

Over the decades, many individuals have approached the MCCBCHST because of similar problems i.e. individuals wrongly designated as “Muslims” by the Government. They are designated as such despite never having professed Islam all their lives. It must be emphasised that these are not cases of people wanting to leave or renounce Islam, but cases where they are not even Muslims in the first place. Read more

Vote against Hadi’s Private Members Bill — Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Taoism

Source: The Malay Mail Online

An opinion piece - file pic

An opinion piece – file pic

OCTOBER 15 — The  Malaysian  Counsultative  Council  of  Buddhism, Christianity, Hindusim, Sikhism and Taosim (MCCBCHST) is gravely concerned with Hadi’s Private Members Bill  which will be coming up for debate soon in our Federal Parliament. As the Bill will have far-reaching consequences for the Nation, the MCCBCHST feels duty-bound to issue this open letter to Members of Parliament to do their duty as required by their oath of office to protect our Federal Consitution.

I Is Hadi’s Private Member’s Bill a Bill empowering HUDUD offences?

The answer is a clear ‘YES’. Here is why

The aim of Hadi’s Private Member’s Bill is to seek Parliament’s approval to enhance the Jurisdiction of the Syariah Courts. Presently the Syariah Courts can only impose punishments up to 3 years imprisonment, fine up to  RM5,000.00 and whipping up to 6 lashes (commonly known as 3-5-6 limits). This is provided for by the Syariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355). Read more

Malaysia’s unity, freedoms at risk with hudud Bill, interfaith group warns

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 ― The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) expressed today its opposition to the Syariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Bill 2016, and warned that the proposed law risks weakening the country’s constitutional liberties, including religious freedom.

Malaysia’s umbrella body representing non-Muslim religions urged Putrajaya to withdraw its support for the private member’s Bill tabled by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang in Parliament last week.

“It has the potential to undermine religious freedom and fundamental liberties as enshrined in Part II of the Constitution. The Non-Muslim’s position too would be in jeopardy under Hudud and they would not have equal rights if implemented,” the group said in a statement.

MCCBCHST said it was “aghast” at Umno minister Datuk Seri Azalina Said Othman’s complicity to expedite Hadi’s Bill through the Dewan Rakyat and reminded the Najib administration that all past five prime ministers had rejected previous attempts to introduce hudud law into a multiracial and multireligious nation because it would have jeopardised the position of the non-Muslim communities.

It urged the government not to ignore the advice of the past five prime ministers and the history of the country.

“Our former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had warned the PAS government of Kelantan in 1994 against introducing Hudud Law in the State because ‘Hudud Law punishes victims while actual criminals were often left off with minimum punishment,” it said. Read more

How will non-Muslims get justice if they can’t be in the Shariah Court? Interfaith panel asks

Source: The Malay Mail Online

M. Indira Gandhi is pictured at the Court of Appeal, Putrajaya, December 30, 2015. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

M. Indira Gandhi is pictured at the Court of Appeal, Putrajaya, December 30, 2015. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 30 — Today’s Court of Appeal deferment to the Shariah Court in M. Indira Gandhi’s case effectively means non-Muslims are left in legal limbo when challenging unilateral conversions of their children to Islam, the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) said today.

MCCBCHST vice-president Jagir Singh criticised the Court of Appeal’s majority ruling today, where the civil court’s judges said only the Shariah courts can decide on the religious status of a Hindu mother’s children who were unilaterally converted by their Muslim convert parent.

“By pushing conversion cases to the Shariah courts the Court of Appeal appears to have abdicated its duty. It is akin to say, yes, you have a right but have no remedy,” the MCCBCHST immediate past president told Malay Mail Online when contacted for comments.

Jagir, who is also a lawyer, questioned how a Shariah Court, which only has jurisdiction over Muslims, can dispense justice to non-Muslims.

“About 20 years ago, it was the civil court who were hearing all conversion cases. This was correctly so as the Shariah court have no jurisdiction over non-Muslims and non-Muslims cannot appear as witnesses in a Shariah Court.

“Therefore, how is a Shariah court going to administer justice as it will not have the evidence of the non-Muslim parties involved in the case?” he asked.

Jagir said the Court of Appeal’s ruling today will not solve the predicaments faced by the spouse that had not converted to Islam, such as Hindu mother M. Indira Gandhi in today’s case. Read more