23 JANUARY 2015
After a disappointing decision from the Federal Court in the appeal by the Catholic Church on the ‘Allah’ matter, the judgment from the Court of Appeal comprising Justices Mohd Hishamudin Yunus, Aziah Ali and Lim Yee Lan on the Negri Sembilan Syariah case gives us reason to be hopeful. The judgment handed down in this case is one written by a judge who is conscious of his oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.
Foremost, I am glad that the honourable judge in his judgment affirmed that the Federal Constitution is the Supreme law of the Federation as declared in Article 4(1) and that the guarantee of fundamental liberties of all Malaysians takes precedence over all State laws, including Islamic laws passed by State legislatures.
Equally significant is the affirmation by Justice Mohd Hishamudin of the 1988 decision of the Supreme Court in Che Omar bin Che Soh, which clearly stated that Malaysia is a secular country in that ‘it was the intention of the Federal Constitution that the word ‘Islam’ in Art 3(1) be given a restrictive meaning’. What this means is that Malaysia is not an Islamic country and the Syariah is not the supreme law of the land, no matter how much the present and past prime ministers, members of the BN government and the various Islamic authorities wish it to be and how often they try to hoodwink Malaysians that it is. I hope that they will take the time to read this very sound judgment and give due respect to the pronouncement of the court on this matter. They would do a great service to all Malaysians if they would try to understand the provisions of the Federal Constitution so that they do not embarrass themselves by giving their own erroneous interpretations of this supreme law of the land.
The substance of this case is that Article 4(1) of the Federal Constitution is the overriding provision, and not Article 3(1). We are heartened by this judgment and we hope that we will continue to served by judges who are as faithful to their oaths of office as this Court of Appeal panel headed by Justice Mohd Hishamudin Yunus.
ADUN N70 BA’ KELALAN/
CHAIRMAN, PKR SARAWAK