Monday, November 16, 2015

Don't let Jamil Khir usurp our constitution

Mariam Mokhtar

Malays and Muslims need to start thinking! Within a matter of days, the federal minister, Jamil Khir Baharom, lost a huge amount of credibility when he was hit by a series of allegations regarding abuse of funds meant for orphans and the needy. Damning revelations were made about his overseas trip for work-cum-golfing holiday.
Amazingly, the day before these allegations came to light, Jamil Khir had attempted to stop another vocal critic of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) from making his views known.
Perhaps, it is time that Jamil Khir stops taking the moral high ground in his retaliation against Tawfik Ismail’s urging that Jakim be disbanded. Jamil Khir is being disingenuous when he said , “Views that Jakim should be abolished are not in line with the demands of the federal constitution. The constitution has to be respected, by all parties."
Tawfik (photo), who is the the eldest son of the former deputy PM Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, had been critical of Jakim’s role and said, “I think Jakim should be abolished. I don’t think Jakim should exist. What is the government afraid of? You have 13 muftis, with 13 different fatwas and 13 different ways of approaching it (religion).
“What is the purpose of Jakim? Halal certificates? That can go to the Health Ministry, or the Trade Ministry. What else does Jakim do? Print the Quran? We have a communications minister.”
Jamil Khir has selective amnesia.
In May 2015, a lawyer representing the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) questioned the federal constitution’s validity under Islamic law. Jamil Khir also happens to be MAIWP’s chairperson, so he cannot pretend he was not aware of this lawyer’s actions.
The problem arose when MAIWP and the Attorney-General’s Chamber (AGC) appealed against a Court of Appeal ruling that allowed non-Muslim lawyers to practice as Syariah lawyers in the Syariah courts of the Federal Territories.
A non-Muslim lawyer, Victoria Jayaseele Martin, graduated with a Diploma in Syariah Laws and Practice from Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIA) Malaysia in 2004. The 53-year-old wanted to be admitted as a Syariah lawyer in the Federal Territories.
The Court of Appeal declared that Rule 10 of the Rules of the Syariah Lawyers 1993, declared that only Muslims could practise as Syariah lawyers.
The Court of Appeal had overturned a High Court decision which prevented Martin’s judicial review, ruling that MAIWP had powers under the law to set conditions for admitting Syariah lawyers.
So, today, Jamil Khir admonishes Tawfik for his suggestion to dissolve Jakim, because it would be “against the wish of the federal constitution”, and warned Tawfik that “all parties should respect the constitution”.
In a further retaliation against Tawfik, Jamil Khir said, “We also need to realise that Islam has been a major factor to our stability, and it is this stability that has made Malaysia a model Islamic country.”
Sliding down the slippery slope
No, Jamil, you are wrong! Islam has been used by the government to divide its people. Malaysia is not a model Islamic country. It is sliding down the slippery slope to extremism.
Article 3 of the constitution states that “Islam is the religion of the Federation”, but all religions will be practised in peace and harmony throughout the Federation. We are a secular society, and we have a secular constitution.
Malaysians are at the mercy of extremist Malay and Muslim NGOs, and the religious authorities which assert excessive authority.
The extremists, and those who represent religious authorities, have their own interpretations of Islam, which are very shallow. In short, they have hijacked the religion.
How many more atrocities, like the conversion of minors, the ban on the word ‘Allah’, and Bible seizures should Malaysians be subjected to?
The hounding of the bookstore manager, Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz (photo), was an unprecedented and relentless persecution. A waste of time and resources, which would have mentally harmed a weaker person. The lower end of the social scale is subject to khalwat raids.
Umno Baru’s support for Kelantan’s dream of implementing hudud, is also against the constitution.
Jakim and Jamil Khir both attempt to implement rules for women’s dress, but do very little to address the issue of incest in the villages.
Jamil Khir is pretending to be a highly religious Muslim, but he is merely an Umno Baru propagandist whose job is to deceive the Muslims of Malaysia and make them think that they should give up their constitutional rights, in preference for the Umno Baru Muslim rights which are non-existent, and which are tearing this nation apart.
The government uses Islam to work on the Malay mind. They use religion as their ‘bargaining chip with which one cannot argue’.

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO).
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