Andy Yong Kim Seng: Review or amend Article 121 (1A) of the Federal Constitution first before Hudud

Press statement by

Gerakan Youth Deputy Chief

Andy Yong Kim Seng

2 May 2014

Despite objections from various organisations including political parties from both sides, Pas is likely to proceed with tabling of the private member’s bill on Hudud in the next parliamentary sitting.  Some leaders were reported saying the country is not ready for it and even the Muslim themselves have a poor understanding of Hudud.

Deputy Youth Chief of Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia, Andy Yong, who is also a lawyer argues that: “I am inclined to a more inclusive human rights approach on what is just and fair.  Past related syariah law matters such as conversion, custody and jurisdictional issues are yet to be resolved and affected the non-Muslims, I cannot imagine the repercussion if Hudud is used”.

“There had been many past controversial issues though decided in courts but yet the aggrieved parties are left with no remedy.  Among others, cases such as Dalip Kaur, Teoh Eng Huat, Shamala, Moorthy, Lina Joy, Subashini, Indira Gandhi and the recent S.Deepa have obviously clouded the real issues and sending the wrong signals to the people”.

“The above quoted cases are simply due to the significant amendments made to Article 121(1A) Federal Constitution in 1988  which reads:

(1)   There shall be two High Courts of co-ordinate jurisdiction and status, namely…and the High Courts and inferior courts shall have such jurisdiction and powers as may be conferred by or under federal law.

(1A) The courts referred to in Clause (1) shall have no jurisdiction in respect of any matter within the jurisdiction of the Syariah courts”.

Andy opines that “the plain words of Article 121(1A) are innocuous but judges, lawyers and academicians have interpreted it differently which affected both Muslims and non-Muslims and jurisdictional issues.  To me in some of those cases the Syariah courts have indiscriminately extended their jurisdiction in the matrimonial affairs and custody of non-Muslims and conversion of children.  It is high time for us to provide a clear guideline and not to abdicate from the constitutional duty be it of the judiciary, executive or legislators.  Hence we should remedy the situation with justice by reviewing or amending Article 121(1A) instead of debating on Hudud”.

“I therefore urge the government and lawmakers to look this provision once and for all before even considering on Hudud.  This is to reaffirm the principle of separation of powers and the sovereignty of the Judiciary and to avoid further confusion as to the inherent jurisdiction of the courts to make orders as the justice of the case requires”.

 

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