Thursday, March 26, 2015

PKR CALLS FOR A UNITED NON-PARTISAN SARAWAKIAN FRONT TO SAFEGUARD THE CONSTITUTION AND OUR SECULAR STATE


PRESS STATEMENT
25 MARCH 2015

A special meeting of the PKR Sarawak State Leadership Council was called last night to discuss the attempt by PAS to push for hudud in Kelantan.

It was unanimously resolved that PKR Sarawak repeats and reiterates our firm stand against the attempt by PAS to amend the Federal Constitution for the implementation of hudud.

We would like to reassure all Sarawakians, that in matters affecting Sarawak and our people, we are ‘Sarawakians First’.

On this premise, and acknowledging the alarm with which Sarawakians view the issue of hudud, PKR Sarawak has resolved to write to the Right Honourable Chief Minister to propose the tabling of a joint motion in the coming Sarawak State Assembly sitting to declare that hudud will not be implemented in Sarawak.

In the event the CM is not minded to table the nonpartisan motion on behalf of the House, our PKR State Assembly representatives will cause the motion to be tabled for the deliberation and adoption of the state legislative body.

At the outset, we recognize that hudud is part and parcel of the Syariah, which is found in the Koran. However, PKR Sarawak stands firmly against the implementation of hudud in Malaysia and Sarawak for the reasons that follow.

Principally, we turn to the Federal Constitution, the document upon which the Federation of Malaysia is founded, to support our assertion. Article 4 of the Constitution declares: “This Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation…”. As explained by Raja Azlan Shah in 2003: “This essential feature of the Federal Constitution ensures that the social contract between the various races of our country embodied in the independence Constitution of 1957 is safeguarded and forever enures to the Malaysian people as a whole, for their benefit.” Therefore, the Federal Constitution - and not the Syariah - is the supreme law of the Federation.

In addition, our Rukunegara, which sets out the fundamental principles of governance directed towards the creation of a just and democratic society, declares these tenets: ‘Upholding the Constitution’ and ‘Rule of Law’. These tenets reinforce the supremacy of our Federal Constitution.

During the talks leading to the formation of Malaysia, the non-Muslim communities of Sarawak had voiced their reservations about Islam being the religion of the Federation. It was finally agreed as the first of the 18/20-Point Agreement that ‘While there was no objection to Islam being the national religion of Malaysia, there should be no State religion in Sarawak, and the provisions relating to Islam in the present Constitution of Malaya should not apply to Sarawak’. The absence of a state religion was key in Sarawak’s agreement to join in the formation Malaysia in 1963.

Furthermore, there is enough evidence in our historical documents and legal judgments to establish that Sarawak had signed the Malaysia Agreement with a secular state. The founding father, ‘Bapa Malaysia’ Tunku Abdul Rahman stated it plainly in Parliament: ‘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’ [Hansard, 1 May 1958].

The implementation of Hudud requires the amendment of the Federal Constitution, particularly Article 4. In this regard, Point 16 of the 18/20-Point Agreement should be highlighted: that no amendment, modification or withdrawal of any special safeguard granted to Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak) should be made by the Central Government without the positive concurrence of the Government of the state of North Borneo/Sarawak. Therefore, the power to amend the Sarawak Constitution or the Federal Constitution insofar as the changes affect the rights of Sarawak belongs exclusively to the people of Sarawak.

This protection is reinforced in Article 161E of the Federal Constitution, which provides safeguards for the constitutional position of Sabah and Sarawak, whereby no amendment of the Constitution can be made without the concurrence of the Governor if it is to affect the constitution and jurisdiction of the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak, and the religion in the State.

These safeguards were promulgated to ensure that our rights cannot be taken from us without our consent. With such hurdles to clear, it is obvious that the framers of the Sarawak and Federal Constitutions had every intention of preserving Sarawak’s autonomy and our freedom of religion.

Hudud has no place in Malaysia, most especially in Sarawak.

MAJLIS PIMPINAN NEGERI
PKR SARAWAK


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