It took me a while to figure out a simple way to write today’s feature. I have opted for simplicity with the extreme attention towards passing on a very simple message to all Malaysians (and those who may be interested in Malaysian politics) who may be reading this.
Based on the speechs given by by Ms. Ivy Josiah (WAO), Prof. Shad Saleem Faruqi (Law), Dato Dr. Cyrus Das (Law), Mr. Malik Imtiaz Sarwar (Law), Dato Zaid Ibrahim (MP) at the recent public forum organised by "article 11" and the Malaysian Bar Coucil , i draw the following:
1.The federal constitution that was crafted by your forefathers is the most supreme document given to you.
2.The federal constitution of Malaysia says that any rule or policy that is adopted which are in conflict with the principles forwarded in the constitution shall be null and void.
3.The federal constitution makes it clear that Malaysia is NOT an Islamic state as Dr. Mahathir or other politicians may claim or wished it to be. Lets be very clear about this, Malaysia is a secular state, and such a privilege is guaranteed in the federal constitution.
4.The federal constitution assures us that no one race or religion has privilege over the other. Further, it assures that all people will be treated equally with equal privilege given to all
5.The federal constitution does not recognise the word “bumi putra” (translates to ‘sun of the soil’). Such reference is in fact unconstitutional and violates equal treatment of people in the nation. Further, the use of the word “bumi putra” is blatantly raciest. It implies that those not “bumi putra” are less deserving citizens. This is far from reality, as the federal constitution does not permit unequal treatment of people.
It has become clear that Malaysia masses are not aware of their constitutional rights as citizens.
Politicians have inserted confusing terms and policies to blur the understanding of the true implications of the constitution and what it stands for the public.
The referring to Malaysia as an Islamic state by a former prime minister has made people confused about their rights as Malaysians. It has also given extremist and radical Islamic groups to make use of the this blurred definition. PAS (an Islamic political party) for example has frequntly suggested replacing the supremacy of the Federal Constitution with the supremacy of Sharia.
The denial of justice in the recent Murthi case (reference), is a sign that the Sharia courts and religious groups have been going beyond their capacity. This phenomenon is thanks to the redefinition of Malaysia as a “Islamic” state.
Do not get it wrong, the constitution offers any one and every one, the opportunity to be heard. Denial of such an opportunity is unconstitutional. This is exactly what happened in the Murti case (and may others like it). She was denied justice when the civil courts said that it was upto the Sharia courts to decide, while she was unable to participate in the Sharia courts, as she was not Muslim. This is bad judgement on the part of the judge and a blatant disregard for her constitutional freedom.
The use of the phrase “bumi puthra” is similar. It has blur the public about their sense of worth. As if to say that certain sections of are more valuable than others. Consider this: any advertisement that says “10% discount for bumi putras” is unconstitutional.
What this means is that interested politicians (mind controlling insects) bring in concepts and segment society so that they are better able to rule.
The unconstitutional labelling of Malaysia as Islamic, when the it is clearly said in the constitutional documents that it is secular and the reference to a special “bumi putra” right, is unjust. It is stealing away from you (the common Malaysian) your freedom. It is denying you of your rights.
The next time this happens, remember, you have the right to sue any practice that is unconstitutional.
The public forum that was held in on the 12th of march by the NGO group “article 11” and the Malaysian bar council addressed this issue. Some ways to address this issue was suggested and included the setting up of a “constitutional court”.
following is a letter addressed to the current prime minister of Malaysia from the organisers of the forum. Clearly, it is of utmost importance that all malayaians become aware of this.
To: The Malaysian Government
Reaffirming the supremacy of the Federal Constitution
We, the undersigned, Malaysian men and women from all ethnic and faith backgrounds, are concerned about recent events and statements that undermine the supremacy of the Federal Constitution.
We wish to remind our national leaders that Article 4(1) emphatically declares that the Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation and that the oath of office of all parliamentarians, cabinet ministers and judges is singularly to defend the Constitution.
Further, Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution states that ‘Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation’. The Federation of Malaya Constitutional Commission, 1956-57 Report, states that this Article ‘shall not imply that the State is not a secular State’. The Supreme Court decision in Che Omar Che Soh (1988) reaffirmed that “the law in this country is still what it is today, secular law”.
Yet, increasingly we hear claims that Malaysia is an Islamic state.
Liberty and justice for all Malaysians may only effectively be realized through an independent judiciary with full powers of review. Sadly, Malaysians have witnessed the abdication of this power by our judges largely due to an ill-conceived amendment to the Constitution in 1988. In recent cases in the High Courts, judges have declined to adjudicate on pressing issues simply because they involved some elements of Islamic law, leaving litigants without any remedy. This is a most unsatisfactory state of affairs and one which no civil society must endure.
We recognise that the spirit of the Constitution encompasses universal values of democracy, good governance and respect for all. This is compatible with the principles of all faiths represented in Malaysia.
* call on the government and judiciary to uphold the supremacy of the Federal Constitution;
* call upon the government to ensure governance in accordance with the Federal Constitution and premised on the universal values of all Malaysian peoples;
* call upon the government to reaffirm that Malaysia shall not become a theocratic state;
* call upon the government to recognise the proper position of the judiciary within the Constitutional framework, as an independent and equal arm of Government
*Kindly sign on the signature page provided*
Article 11 has this to say:
We are in the process of collecting signatures for our open letter to the Prime
Minister and hope that you are concerned enough to be part of this campaign.
Please find attached the Open Letter and the Signature Form. If you support the call we are making in the Open Letter we would be much obliged if you could download these documents, disseminate them and collect signatures to support this campaign.
Please approach your relatives, friends and any organisations that you might be in contact with to support this campaign.
Every signature collected is valuable and adds on more voice to the call that we are making to the Prime Minister.
Signature forms can be mailed back to us at The Secretariat, P.O. Box 493, Jalan Sultan, 46760 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
i do not have soft links to these documents. Please drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org for one.