YOURSAY | ‘Politics and religion are supposed to be like oil and water.’

Yoursay: Our founding fathers left us in a bind on secular law


Only secular law can save religions

Vision 2020: P Gunasegaram is right, only secular laws can guarantee that everyone, regardless of faith, will be treated the same.

Politics and religion are supposed to be like oil and water. Politics is a public entity in our multiracial society while religion is a private entity to oneself.

A free and just majority government should not discriminate the minorities using race and religion narratives to hold on their grip of illegitimate power at the expense of liberty, equality and justice.

Only through respect of our supreme secular constitution as envisaged by our founding fathers – Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tan Cheng Lock and VT Sambanthan – can ensure peace and harmony of our beloved Malaysia and for the rakyat of different colours and creeds, races and religions.

David Dass: The Alliance submitted their memorandum to the Reid Commission detailing their proposal on the position of Islam.

The Alliance wrote: “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.”

The Alliance’s memorandum was published in the newspapers and made clear to the people of Malaya that the federation would be secular.

The sultans, having read the memorandum, instructed their Queen’s Counsel Neil Lawson, to convey their approval to the suggestion of the Alliance for the inclusion in the constitution of a declaration establishing Islam as the state religion, provided this did not prejudice the position of the rulers as heads of the Muslim religion in their separate states.

The federation would still be a secular state, and non-Muslim nationals would suffer no disability.

After Merdeka, in a Malaya parliamentary debate on May 1, 1958, the question arose as to whether the independent federation was an Islamic state, Malaya’s first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman said:

“I would like to make it clear that this country is not an Islamic state as it is generally understood, we merely provided that Islam shall be the official religion of the state.”

Have A Great Day: As a layperson with no legal knowledge, I wonder how our constitution can be considered supreme if citizens who are aggrieved of their rights because of syariah laws cannot revert to it for legal recourse?

Our judges do not understand the concept that the constitution is supreme – those so judges are subservient to the syariah courts.

What Gunasegaram says is right, the Umnoputras have shown they are using the religion to work in cahoots with PAS to gain political mileage.

At least Pakatan Harapan does seem to be a better bet for a relatively more liberal take on Islam.

OMG: The Jan 29 Federal Court decision on the conversion of M Indira Gandhi’s children states the following:

“Justice Zainun (Ali) said the civil court had the power to review a decision on its constitutional role as a check and balance mechanism.

“It cannot be abrogated or altered by Parliament by way of a constitutional amendment… it is evident from the marked differences in the establishment and constitution of the civil and syariah courts that the two courts operate on a different footing altogether.”

Then last year, there was another decision that reversed prior adherence to a Parliament-sanctioned amendment to the constitution, concerning compensation on land cases.

These powers that the executive branch tried to take away in 1988 are now being recognised as immutable powers of the judiciary.

It is up to the courts to reinstate their powers according to those granted them in the supreme law, the Federal Constitution.

Prudent: The then Alliance spoke with a forked tongue to the people – they cannot say that Islam shall be the religion of the federation, and yet insist that the federation is a secular state.

This inconsistency cannot be overcome even by “guaranteeing” the “freedom” of religion.

This is the same fork that guaranteed the “special position” of the Malays with no specified limits, and yet insisted that all have equal rights in the federation.

These provisions gave more than a toehold to racial and religious extremists to exert their agenda using the Federal Constitution as justification.

We have seen what happened since then, and especially after May 13, 1969. What the leaders said outside the constitution is academic and does not matter.

It is what is written in the constitution – which is therefore legal and enforceable – that matters.

Observing The Nation: I think freedom of religion or secularism to protect religion works on one assumption, i.e., that all religions are not evil.

This is clearly not the case with the major religions practiced here. But imagine if you had to protect a religion that actually is evil.

Also, the secularism has to come out from somewhere to define itself against something, to determine the foundation of what is evil and what is not.

Lajib: According to the Oxford dictionary, religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.

We believe in God, but not man-made rules, custom and culture as parts of religion.

Anonymous 697961505377718: Freedom of religion includes the freedom not to believe.

This is where dogmatism and extremists arise, since one’s own faith is deemed the ultimate truth, ditto for everyone else.

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