Loyal Followers

Monday, December 03, 2012


In "Secular or non-secular? - What history tells us", I have reproduced a section of the Reid Commission report with a sentence unintentionally omitted. I wish to take responsibility and apologise for that omission. The particular section should read as follows (with the omitted part in bold):

“We have considered the question whether there should be any statement in the Constitution to the effect that Islam should be the State religion. There was universal agreement that if any such provision were inserted it must be made clear that it would not in any way affect the civil rights of non-Muslims. 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 practising their own religion and shall not imply that the State is not a secular State’.

I wish to thank the writer of Secular or non-secular: How Art Harun got it wrong on the Reid Commission for bringing to my attention the aforesaid omission. The fact that there is someone who cares enough to write a 2214-word article on my accidental and unintentional omission to reproduce 10 words from the Reid Commission is heart-warming, to say the least. I value such effort and support.

I have written to the Malay Mail, who published my said article to include this corrigendum (in a shorter form) in my next article. I hope they would accede to my request.

Thank you.

* Update : this corrigendum appears in my article published by the Malay mail today on page 14. The same corrigendum will also be sent to the Malaysian Insider today.


Ellese said...

Thank you Art. I respect you for this. I'm not rubbing in but truth must be told which was not part of the corrigendum but essence to the misconception created by your first article.

It must be made clear that the Reid commission did not say Malaysia is a secular state. In fact they were of the view that inserting Article 3 where Islam is the official religion of the federation may contradict the secularity of our constitution.

I'm sorry but your article created a lot of misconception among the public. The public must know that with the constitution preferring a certain religion it makes the position of secularism in the ordinary meaning of the word very difficult to be tenable. We may not be fully theorcratic but the people must realise that our constitution do permit religious authorities to have a say and determine the social conduct of the majority of the population.

Kudos to you on believing in integrity and Helen Ang for being diligent in determining the truth.

art harun said...


If people chose to read just the paragraph of the Reid Commission report containing the omission, then I would agree with you, there would be misconception.

But my article contains far more than that. The remark made by another member, Justice Hamid is also included and he made it clear that his proposed clause (which provides that Islam was to be the religion of the federation) shall not prevent the country from being a secular state. He accepted the Alliance's suggestion.

An excerpt from the British Government's White Paper is also reproduced by me. It says the same thing.

A letter from the Colonial Sec. is also reproduced and needless to say, it says the same thing.

In fact, there is also a Hansard from the British Parliament while they were debating the Malaya Independence Bill and the MPs were saying the same thing. I had not included that Hansard because of word-count limitation.

By the way, is Helen Ang writing under the pen name of Mat Rempit Hubris? I had always thought MRH is someone else.

HY said...

I think it is just an unintentional omission so what this MRH psychoanalysis trying to achieve?

did not AH wrote in the first para:

"Initially, when the Reid Commission was set to draft our Constitution, the Alliance (Umno, MIC and MCA) presented a 20 page memorandum to the Reid Commission. On Islam, the memo says:

“The religion of Malaysia shall be Islam. The observance of this principle shall not impose any disability on non-Muslim nationals professing and practising their own religion, and shall not imply that the State is not a secular State.”

AH / Ellese, to be frank, i don't know how all this interpretation helps us. It is quite obvious we are not entirely secular, however we are more secular than many midddle east countries and less secular if compare against many european or asia countries. The pertinent question is shall we become more or less secular moving toward.

Ellese, hope you dont mind i relate to China again, anyone still believe China a communist country that subscribe to marxism even their constitution say so?

Anonymous said...

I personally think that, with the omitted sentence in, it actually re-affirms that the Alliance had wanted our constitution to be secular in essence.

My take on this is that the Reid Commission was working on a secular
constitution based on the aspirations of the Alliance. As a State religion was proposed, they had to qualify that, even with Islam as the religion of the Federation, the constitution should remain secular.

Otherwise, MCA and MIC would not have agreed and likewise, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore would not have subsequently agreed to join Malaya to form Malaysia.


Ellese said...

Dear Art,

Your article has been used to say that the Reid comission says our constitution is secular. This is false and a misrepresentation. It matters not what British parliament said or Hamid said or any other person, but Reid commission is not an authority to say its a secular document.

The fact that you failed to highlight the book you quote on Reid's commission's view that article 3 is contradicting the secular nature of the constitution is telling. This should also be part of the historical record you should weigh consider and highlight. Any non acknowledgement of it would show you pick and select historical facts to prove a point. You must acknowledge their reservation to be truthful. No two ways on this.

Ellese said...

Dear HY,

You know my position is that the world view us as not secular. And not necessarily theorocratic. My main issue is the use of Reid commission as authority in saying its secular by many people and refer to arts articlworlds source.
If you use secular as a relative term as in who is more secular, I have no issue with your deduction.

Ellese said...

Sorry. Artclworlds should be "article as". Don't know how it got there.

art harun said...


I will gladly acknowledge any official view of the Reid Commission or any other pertinent party. Whatever happened behind close doors, mores so if statements were made privately, was and is not official. If the Commission had felt strongly that the inclusion of the Alliance's proposal was and is contradictory to the intended secularism of Malaya, they should have officially said so in their report.

We say all sorts of things in private even though officially, we would not make known those things.

You can go on and accuse me of this and that. My conscience is clear.

Ellese said...

I thought of ending already. Until I saw a write by historian professor dr Malik munip who referred to the same Fernando book. Just google " Malik munip secular state" for the article. I'm more convinced than now that if one were to go through the Fernando book and historical records, if we are objective, one can't conclude Reid is an authority to say our constitution is secular. They have not addressed them but actually had reservation.
I will say that when I wrote I have no clue of who is this professir guy is. But his similar position and argument was by pure coincidental deduction of our constitution. The only difference is that I have also written on the answer of his ultimate question: whether Malaysia is an Islamic state. To this I've referred to the Islamic treaties for the answer. In short I don't know him and I'll defend if one accuses me of copying his views. I take offence to this lie.
Now I hope also someone just don't denigrate this professor like professor kampung lah etc etc since you don't agree with his view. I also take offence to this style of demeaning comment without justification. And I will respond in kind.

Sorry Art. I don't think you'll be like them as I think you're respectful. But I always get idiots who just like to compliment the idiocy of others and have enough of them.