I read with absolute disbelief what the Bandar Baru Kulim MP, Zulkifli Noordin had proposed in his private member bills at the Parliament. I am even more astounded - not to mention bitterly angry - that PKR has not seen it fit to read the riot act in full DTS 6.1 mode to Zul Noordin.
The antics of Zul Noordin are well documented. During one Federal Court hearing, in one of those conversion cases, this guy actually stood up in open Court and questioned the "Muslimness" of Malik Imtiaz just because he disagreed with what Imtiaz was saying. Later, he and some thugs were involved in stopping a discourse on conversion to Islam which was going on at the Bar Council auditorium.
This guy fashioned himself as the defender of Islam. I do not have any qualm if anybody wants to defend his marbles and his pussies. It is none of my business. But if by defending Islam it means that he could impose his personal values and beliefs on me, and others, well, I bleeding well have a problem with that!
I believe Zul Noordin was given a show cause letter by PKR over the Bar Council fracas. What has happened to that show cause letter? Was there a disciplinary proceeding brought against Zul Noordin? If so, what was the recommendation? Why, may I ask, has there been no action taken by PKR against this guy for having blatantly gone against the principles of the party time and time again? Is PKR condoning him? Or tacitly approving what he has been doing? Or is PKR only good at talking and frothing at the mouth with nice little speeches about freedom and Constitutionalism?
This is what Zul Noordin is proposing in the Parliament. He is proposing that the Federal Constitution be amended as follows:
- Article 3 be amended to include the following words, namely, "Islam is the religion for the Federation, including in terms of the law and syariah."
- Article 4 of the Federal Constitution must be amended to add in the words “the Constitution is the primary law of the Federation and except for the Islamic law and syariah, any other law that is passed and that contradicts it must be void for as long as it is contradictory.
- Article 11 (1) of the Federal Constitution on the question of changing the religion for Muslims be amended to include the words "“including changing his/her religion except for Muslims which must comply with the Islamic law and syariah. For the followers of Islam, the question of converting into or abandoning Islam must be determined by the Syariah Court which has absolute power over it”.
Malaysia Today - quoting a Bernama report - quoted Zul as saying that Article 3 must be amended "to ensure that the facts on the position of Islam were not manipulated and misinterpreted by certain groups to give the impression that Malaysia was a secular state." He also was quoted as saying:
“The fact is that Malaysia is not a secular state, but a nation that puts Islam as the religion for the federation, thus the amendments to Article 3 of the Federal Constitution, as suggested, will clarify the position with regard to the status of the country without any doubt,”
It doesn't take a law professor to tell us the far reaching consequences of the proposed amendments, if passed. It will practically put Syariah law above the Federal Constitution itself! This is because the proposed Article 4 would only render void any law, OTHER THAN SYARIAH LAW, if such law contradicts the Federal Constitution. What will that make Malaysia? I shall leave it to your imagination.
So, what if one day, after the amendment, the Parliamentarians, by a majority, decide to have a Consultative body (the Islamic Syura Council) to govern this country. It is against the Federal Constitution of course. But it is not void because Article 4, after the amendment, say that Islamic and Syariah law which contradicts the Federal Constitution is not void. Wouldn't Malaysia then be ruled by the Syura? And mind you, non-Muslims cannot be a member of the Syura. El fantastico!
This lunacy must stop! And I wonder why PKR is not even moving a blinking finger! Is PKR full of nutters?
And I would advise Zul Noordin and his ilk - lest they would repeat their statement that Malaysia is not a secular country like a cheap scratched CD - to at least read our history. And don't just read like a parrot but please understand it as well.
What does our history say about this?
First of all, the Reid Commission considered whether to make Islam the religion of the State. This is because, the Alliance Government - and this means the 3 main parties, namely, UMNO, MIC and MCA - submitted a memorandum to include such provision. If the Alliance, which consists of MCA and MIC unanimously said so in the memorandum, might I ask whether the MCA and MIC would have agreed that Malaysia be made an "Islamic state" rather than a secular country? Go figure! This is what the Reid Commission report says:
"In the memorandum submitted by the Alliance it was stated – “the religion of Malaysia shall be Islam. The observance of this principle shall not impose any disability on non-Muslim nationals professing and practicing their own religions and shall not imply that the State is not a secular State.”
And what was the Commission's view on this request? Well, Zul et al, this its view:
"There is nothing in the draft Constitution to affect the continuance of the present position in the States with regard to recognition of Islam or to prevent the recognition of Islam in the Federation by legislation or otherwise in any respect which does not prejudice the civil rights of individual non-Muslims. The majority of us think that it is best to leave the matter on this basis."
From the above, it is clear that the Commission initially decided not to mention that Islam shall be the religion of Malaysia in the Constitution. That was because the Federal Constitution, as drafted then, did not affect the position of Islam at all. It is of paramount importance to know what had swayed the Commission's decision. This will give a clue:
"The majority of us think that it is best to leave the matter on this basis, looking to the fact that Counsel for the Rulers said to us – “It is Their Highnesses’ considered view that it would not be desirable to insert some declaration such as has been suggested that the Muslim Faith or Islamic Faith be the established religion of the Federation. Their Highnesses are not in favour of such a declaration being inserted and that is a matter of specific instruction in which I myself have played very little part.” Mr. Justice Abdul Hamid is of opinion that a declaration should be inserted in the Constitution as suggested by the Alliance and his views are set out in his note appended to this Report."
So, here we go. It was the view of the Council of Rulers that there shall be no provision in the Federal Constitution to the effect that Islam shall be the religion of the Federation. Isn't that clear enough as to the status of Malaysia now?
It is clear that the fact that Islam is the official religion wasn't even supposed to be in the Federal Constitution. And who wanted that? None other than the Council of Rulers. Is it possible than to argue that Malaysia is supposed to be a non-secular country or an Islamic state (whatever that may mean!)?
However, what happened was the Reid Commission was not unanimous on this issue. A member of the Commission, Mr Justice Abdul Hamid, was of the opinion that the view of the Alliance in their memorandum should be given effect. He therefore wanted that it be mentioned in the Constitution that Islam is the religion of the state. And that was all. He did not suggest that Malaysia was to be a non-secular country. This non-secularity only arose when people like Zul Noordin wake up in the morning after a bad dream started to be delusional! And the party of which he is a member is lame enough not to do anything to him!
For the sake of clarity - lest I would be accused of being unclear - this is what Mr Justice Abdul Hamid said in his "note of dissent" in the Reid Commission report:
"It has been recommended by the Alliance that the Constitution should contain a provision declaring Islam to be the religion of the State...
As on this matter the recommendation of the Alliance was unanimous their recommendation should be accepted and a provision to the following effect should be inserted in the Constitution either after article 2 in Part I or at the beginning of Part XIII.
“Islam shall be the religion of the State of Malaya, but nothing in this article shall prevent any citizen professing any religion other than Islam to profess, practice and propagate that religion, nor shall any citizen be under any disability by reason of his being not a Muslim.”
A provision life one suggested above is innocuous. Not less than 15 countries of the world have a provision of this type entrenched in their Constitutions."
Mr Justice Abdul Hamid than noted that:
Among the Christian countries, which have such a provision in their Constitutions, are Ireland (Art. 6), Norway (Art. 1), Denmark (Art. 3), Spain (Art. 6), Argentina (Art. 2), Bolivia (Art 3), Panama (Art. 1), and Paraguay (Art. 3). Among the Muslim countries are Afghanistan (Art. 1), Iran (Art. 1), Iraq (Art. 13), Jordan (Art. 2), Saudi Arabia (Art. 7), and Syria (Art. 3). Thailand is an instance in which Buddhism has been enjoined to be the religion of the King who is required by the Constitution to uphold that religion (Constitution of Thailand (Art. 7)). If in these countries a religion has been declared to be the religion of the State and that declaration has not been found to have caused hardships to anybody, no harm will ensue if such a declaration is included in the Constitution of Malaya. In fact, in all the Constitutions of Malayan States a provision of thus type already exists. All that is required to be done is to transplant it from the State Constitutions and to embed it in the Federal.
So, YB Zulkifli ibnu Noordin, may I ask since when has Malaysia become a non-secular country?
Do you need further evidence? Well, let me reproduce what a British parliamentarian said when debating the Federation of Malaya Independence Bill (which was later passed and effectively and legally established Malaysia as a sovereign country).
"On religion, the Reid Commission recommended, as my hon. Friend the Member for Devonport (Miss Vickers) pointed out, that there should be no mention of State religion in the Constitution. It is now inserted in Article 3, but is so watered down by the later Articles that I do not think there can be any real fear of a non-secular State being created. I think the Secretary of State has resisted pressure put on him for the creation of a non-secular State, and the present provisions should satisfy other religious communities, although there is this mention of the State religion." - Mr Graham Page (Crosby).
The Reid Commission later, in its proposal remarked at paragraph 57 as follows:
"There has been included in the proposed Federal Constitution a declaration that Islam is the religion of the Federation. This will in no way affect the present position of the Federation as a secular State, and every person will have the right to profess and practice his own religion and the right to propagate his religion, though this last right is subject to any restrictions imposed by State law relating to the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the Muslim religion."
Apart from that, we also have judicial pronouncements by our Courts on the matter.
Zul Noordin is a practising lawyer. I would therefore presume that he knows his law. May I bring his attention to what Tun Salleh Abas said in Che Omar bin Che Soh v. PP  2 CLJ 780;
"For example, the establishment of the Federated Malay States in 1895, with the subsequent establishment of the Council of States and other constitutional developments, further resulted in the weakening of the ruler's plenary power to such an extent that Islam in its public aspect had become nothing more than a mere appendix to the ruler's sovereignty. Because of this, only laws relating to family and inheritance were left to be administered and even this was not considered by the court to have territorial application binding all persons irrespective of religion and race living in the state. The law was only applicable to Muslims as their personal law. Thus, it can be seen that during the British colonial period, through their system of indirect rule and establishment of secular institutions, Islamic law was rendered isolated in a narrow confinement of the law of marriage, divorce, and inheritance only.
In our view, it is in this sense of dichotomy that the framers of the Constitution understood the meaning of the word 'Islam' in the context of Article 3. If it had been otherwise, there would have been another provision in the Constitution which would have the effect that any law contrary to the injunction of Islam will be void. Far from making such provision, Article 162, on the other hand, purposely preserves the continuity of secular law prior to the Constitution, unless such law is contrary to the latter."
Later, Justice Dato' Gopal Sri Ram, in Saravanan Thangathoray v Subshini and Another  2 CLJ 451, after referring to the above passage said:
"It follows from the dichotomous approach adverted to by Lord President Salleh Abas that our Constitutional jurisprudence is secular..."
The position is very clear. Malaysia is a secular country. It is not an Islamic state. The Reid Commission said it. The British Parliament in its debate said it. Our Courts said it. Which part of the word "secular" does Zul Noordin have problem of understanding?
Now, accepting that that is what the Federal Constitution provides, would it be too far fetched to say that all of us reasonable minded Malaysians would want this country to remain what it is?
If so, why is Zul Noordin and some high priests in PAS so enthusiastic in pursuing this Islamic state agenda? And why, for heaven sake hasn't PKR done anything to this guy?
Lame, if you asked me!