The Federal Constitution is the supreme law in the country and no one is above it, including the sultan, says constitutional law expert Abdul Aziz Bari.
“Since the matter (of the seized copies of the Bible) has already been decided by the attorney-general himself - and he has not changed his mind either - the MB should, as a matter of courtesy, inform the sultan that (state Islamic authorities) Mais and Jais must comply with the AG’s decision,” Aziz said.
“There are no two ways about it. The sultan is not above the Federal Constitution, and being the head of Islam in the state of Selangor, he is also bound by the constitution.
“He has to take the advice of the MB, since neither Mais nor Jais have the local standi to prosecute any party.”
Aziz argued that the seizure of the Alkitab was illegal as there was no evidence that the holy books were use for proselytisation activities.
The 300 copies of the Bible in the Malay and Iban languages were lying in the Bible Society of Malaysia warehouse when they were confiscated by Jais officers.
“Technically, Jais would have to return the Alkitab in the same condition when they were confiscated,” he said.
“Moreover, there is nothing in the Quran that prohibits the name Allah from being used by anyone else except the Muslims.”
Mais cannot defy AG
By defying the AG’s order, Aziz said, the Mais chairperson has shown his ignorance of the powers vested in the AG.
Under Article 145 of the Federal Constitution, the AG is empowered to exercise at his discretion whether or not to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for any offence under both state and federal laws, other than proceedings before a syariah court, a native court or a court-martial.
“Therefore, Mais chairperson Mohamad Adzib Mohd Isa (right) cannot refuse to comply with the AG’s decision,” Aziz added. “It is not for him to decide whether there is a case or not.”
Aziz also said that members of Mais are appointed to assist the sultan in matters relating to Islam.
“There is no reason for Mais to therefore interfere in matters relating to non-Muslims,” he said.
“Even the sultan, as the head of Islam, has no power over the non-Muslims, whose rights are enshrined under the Federal Constitution. The sultan may disagree, but at the end of the day, we are talking about the federal constitution.”