Constitution is above all laws, Gerakan tells religious council

The Federal Constitution remains the most supreme law in Malaysia, Gerakan reminded today, after the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council said that all Islamic enactments are excluded from fundamental liberties stated in the constitution.

Chai Ko Thing, a member of Gerakan’s legal team, said that Islamic laws cannot violate the fundamental freedoms of all Malaysians that are enshrined in the Federal Constitution as legislation contradicting it would be deemed void.

"I would like to remind everyone that the Federal Constitution is the supreme law in Malaysia," the lawyer said in a statement today.

"Article 4(1) and Article 74(3) of the Federal Constitution state clearly that all State laws, including Islamic laws, must be consistent with Part II of the Federal Constitution which guarantees the fundamental liberties of all Malaysians."

Further, Article 8(2) of the constitution states there should be no discrimination against any citizen on the grounds of religion, race, descent, place of birth, gender in any law, adds Chai.

The federal Islamic council, which opposes non-Muslim lawyers practising Shariah law, yesterday gave notice that all Islamic enactments are excluded from fundamental liberties in the Federal Constitution.

Its lawyer, Mohd Hanif Khatri Abdulla, said this was a new point of monumental constitutional importance to be raised in Victoria Jayaseele Martin's appeal in the Federal Court, where the lawyer is seeking the right to practise Islamic law in the Shariah court.

Chai today urged the Attorney-General’s Chambers to immediately clear the confusion and correct the "unauthoritative interpretation" of the Constitution by stepping in to give his legal opinion on the matter.

MAIWP's position means that it does not hold the Federal Constitution as being secular in nature.

Meanwhile, The Star Online reported Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru as saying that the constitutional question raised in the case had far-reaching consequences.

"The removal of the application of the fundamental liberties in Part 2 of the Federal Constitution to any statute or enactment strikes at the very core of our constitutional scheme," he was quoted as saying.

Echoing Chai, he said that Article 4 "expressly recognises" the supremacy of the Federal Constitution over all other laws of the land.

Shariah Lawyers Association of Malaysia president Musa Awang said that said non-Muslim lawyers should not be allowed to practise shariah law, the English daily reported. – May 15, 2015.





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