Posts Tagged ‘Syariah Law’

Hudud Law (again) ?

September 23rd, 2011
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The bane of the opposition coalition raises its head again. Hudud law, which triggers opposing reaction from DAP, PKR and PAS since they first started to cooperate (refer selected cases in 2008, 2009, and 2010)is back again. Looks like an yearly affair. And more bonus for BN to take a hit at the opposition coalition.

This time,  PAS says wants to implement Hudud in Kelantan. And the PR head, Anwar Ibrahim says the following in support of PAS:

“For now, in general, in principle, I believe this can be implemented. Looking at the specific areas, and there is clear guarantee that there is administration of justice.

“It does not in any way infringe on the rights of non-Muslims,” Anwar told reporters outside the Jalan Duta courthouse here.

He explained that Kelantan’s hudud law plans were “specific” and it covered two important aspects — a fair administration according to Islamic law and ensuring that the rights of non-Muslims are protected.

“It is a specific area that affects Muslims and does not impeach rights of non-Muslims. The proceeding makes sure that administration of justice is guaranteed,” he said.

Coming from politicians, I don’t believe statements that say “doesn’t impeach” or “rights are protected” kind of messages. Always need to read the fine print.

Cue the Tiger of Jelutong:

DAP chairman Karpal Singh, who was taken aback by Anwar’s stand to support hudud law said: “The punishments for these offences are flogging 100 times for intercourse between an unmarried couple, stoning to death for adultery, amputation of hand for theft, death for apostasy, flogging 40 times for alcohol consumption, flogging 80 times for false accusation of adultery and death by sword or crucifixion for highway robbery.”

Karpal also said the fear among non-Muslims that the implementation of hudud law was a step forward in the creation of an Islamic state was justified.

He said the implementation of hudud law would also contravene the Federal Constitution.

Karpal also said the rekindling of the hudud issue ran contrary to PAS’ resolve during the recent muktamar to push for a welfare state.


The DPM says agree with Hudud but now is not the time to implement as need to spread lot of information to get the public’s support. Comments from MCA, MIC, Gerakan, PPP, MMSP and other non-UMNO members/affiliates seems be missing at the moment.

I think the religous aspect should only affect the followers of that religion, and not infringe on others, which in case of this particular religion does seem to be so. The regulators of religion in Malaysia, through their actions, doesn’t give me much faith that this Hudud law will be implemented correctly or fairly. I mean, if you go around body snatching, snooping in the middle of the night, barging into hotel rooms, converting students, banning yoga and certain dance, and so on, then definitely, this Hudud law will spell more trouble for the non-Muslims.

We seem to have lame duck parliamentarians and assemblymen (like in Selangor previously)  who simply sign away our rights, so based on this, I think Hudud law is a potential danger.

I’m also curious about the options available under Hudud laws. If indeed its only for Muslims, then what is the outcome of the following scenarios?

1. Robber is non-Muslim while victim is Muslim.

  • Can the robber decline to be tried under Syariah/Hudud (which should not rise in the first place since he’s non-Muslim)
  • Can the victim demand to the case to be tried under Syariah/Hudud?
  • Who has the final say when there’s a conflict of demands?

2. Robber is Muslim while victim is non-Muslim.

  • Can the robber insist/decline to be tried under Syariah/Hudud ?
  • Can the victim decline the case to be tried under Syariah/Hudud?
  • Who has the final say when there’s a conflict of demands?

3.  Muslim and non-Muslim involved in Zina.

  • Can the couple insist on being tried under civil laws?
  • Can they be tried separately under different set of laws?
  • Who has the final say when there’s a conflict of demands?

4. Can a non-Muslim lawyer represent a accuser or the defendant?

If such laws are to implemented, then it must be clearly stated that it is only for the Muslims. Secondly, the non-Muslim bodies must take this opportunities to revisit existing Islamic laws and insist on correcting those that infringe or are unfair to the non-Muslims, for example conversion cases. But in my opinion, I think the non-Muslim organisations won’t be consulted and the decisions will be implemented arbitrarily.

Yes, the laws are quite detailed, there’s the need for burden of proof, proper and qualified witnesses and so on. BUT, remembering our enforcement and way of doing things, all these will look nice on paper only.

Do read a bit on Hudud. Check out Wiki (English and Malay) for a start.

Banggarma and Rani ask for divine intervention

August 24th, 2010
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These two ladies literally challenged the stated religion’s authorities. I wonder what the body snatchers are going to do now. Probably haul them to syariah court or order counseling? This will be considered as apostasy I guess, so may be fine, jail and rehabilitation.

We can see that most of the problems faced is due to their parents. I guess this gives an idea of the perils of converting due to marriage. I hope our makkal will think carefully before making the fateful decision, so that the chance of our children suffering will be reduced. No point making wrong decision and regret later.

Two women seen in the eyes of the law as Muslims but who consider themselves as Hindus took part in the Timithi Vizla (annual fire walking ceremony) at the Sri Muthu Mariamman Kovil temple in Parit Buntar last Friday.

NONEAccording to Parit Buntar district Human Rights Party Malaysia (HRP) chief M Sivakumar, S Banggarma (left), 28, (Muslim name Siti Hasnah Vangarama Abdullah) had carried the milk pot for a kilometre from Muneesuarar temple to the Sri Muthu Mariamman temple praying for a swift solution to her conversion dilemma.

Rani @ Jamillah Abdul Kadir, 46, also attended the temple function asking for the same favour.

At the religious function, the HRP also went on a signature campaign to highlight the plight of four women trapped in a religious twilight zone.

Besides Banggarma and Rani, M Indira Gandhi and Regina Mohd Zaini, are also attempting to seek royal intervention to solve their conversion dilemmas.

They have exhausted their legal avenues including the religious departments, courts, registration departments and the police.

Their last resort is to appeal for royal intervention from the Sultans of Perak, Johor and the Agong who are heads of Islamic matters in the country.

NONETheir contention is that they have the right to freedom of religion as enshrined in Article 11 of the federal constitution.

Indira is from Ipoh and Banggarma is from Tanjong Piandang, while Rani is from Malacca and Regina from Johore.

According to Perak HRP chief P Ramesh, these four are members of his party, which has collected about 5,000 signatures in support of them.

HRP will present the first memorandum of appeal to Sultan Azlan Shah at Istana Kinta in Ipoh on Sunday at 11am.

They will then approach the Johor Sultan on the case of Regina, followed by the Agong for Rani as Malacca does not have a sultan.

Given away

According to HRP national information officer and Hindraf information chief S Jayathas, Rani’s parents, due to financial difficulties, had given her away to their Hindu neighbour by the name of Kandasamy.

NONEHer Muslim mother Aminnah Ahmadu had married her converted father Abdul Kadir @ Krishnan.

When Rani (right) was 16, she married her Hindu husband who was later forced to convert to Islam as Mustapha @ M Muniandy and they have four children – two daughters and two sons.

Their eldest daughter, 27, is named as Aishah bt Mustapha Muniandy in her birth certificate but the parents managed to change her name to Vijaya Letchumy A/P M Muniandy in her identity card.

However, the other three children, Abdul, 26, Hamzah, 24, and Citra Devi, 16, still carry their Muslim names in their identity cards.

According to Jayathas, Rani had made declarations before a commissioner of oaths that she wanted Abdul to be known by his Hindu name as Ganesan and Hamzah as Nagendran, but the registration department has allegedly refused to make the changes.

Application turned down 

As for Banggama’s conversion case, on Aug 4 the Penang High Court had turned down her application for a court order that would nullify her conversion to Islam when she was seven.

Judicial Commissioner Yaacob Sam had found that Banggama is a Muslim since her parents had converted to Islam in 1983 together with their children and said the civil court has no jurisdiction to hear a case involving conversion to Islam.

NONEBanggama is living in Tanjong Piandang with her fisherman husband, S Sockalingam and their two children Kanagaraj, eight, and Hisyanthini, two.

Banggama’s contention is that she has always been a Hindu and will die one even after the High Court ruled against her.

Banggarma claimed that she was unwittingly converted by the state Islamic religious authorities at the age of seven while she was staying in a welfare home in Kepala Batas, Penang.

Banggarma’s birth certificate revealed that she was born a Hindu on Aug 13, 1982, in Keratong, Pahang, to plantation workers B Subramaniam and Latchumy Ramadu.

She has practised Hinduism even though her identity card stipulated she is a Muslim.

Meanwhile Regina’s father Mohd Zaini @ Krishnan, who had earlier married a Malay woman, had taken her Hindu mother as a second wife and they have three children – two daughters and a son.

The elder daughter was able to convert to Hinduism but not Regina and her younger brother who are still classified as Muslims.

The father died when Regina was four years old and her mother died about five years ago.

Regina had married a Hindu and her problem started when her son Thinas was born and she was unable to register his birth with the registration department.

As for Indira, she had obtained an Ipoh High Court order on March 11, for the custody of her third child Prasana Diksa but is unable to enforce the ruling on her converted husband Mohd Riduan Abdullah @ K Pathmanathan who is hiding in Kelantan with the child.

On July 31, Indira had lodged a police report against her husband for criminal intimidation over using abusive words against her during a phone conversation on July 29 and for refusing to surrender the child to her according to the court order of March 11.

DAP and PAS at it again

August 23rd, 2010
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Its quite evident that the two parties won’t be able to find a common ground, that’s why the contentious issues on religion has not been properly articulated earlier. This will be one of the factors that will lead to downfall of the Pakatan coalition. It just doesn’t jive to imagine DAP and PAS sharing a common consensus on the state of our state.

So, its not surprising to read again about DAP “distancing” itself or PAS saying “DAP are not clear yet” or “just view of individual”. Its quite clear to me (and probably to others as well). From early of last year (read it here and here) till end of last year (read it here), the hudud and Islamic state has been simmering. And it won’t be the last we hear of this issue.

The DAP today distanced itself from renewed talk of hudud law and the implementation of an Islamic state, saying that these were not Pakatan Rakyat (PR) policies.

DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang maintained that DAP’s stand on Malaysia as a secular state has always been “constant and consistent.”

“Hudud laws and [an] Islamic state are not Pakatan Rakyat policies. This is why there is no mention of these issues in the Pakatan Rakyat common platform unveiled at the Pakatan Rakyat convention in Shah Alam on December 19 last year,” said Lim in a statement today.

Under the PR Common Policy Framework (CPC) last year, PR had made a pledge to “defend the Federal Constitution, Islam as the religion of the Federation while other religions can be practiced peacefully anywhere in the country…”

Reiterating that the two matters were not part of the PR framework, Lim said “any policy change would need the agreement of all three component parties and there is no such consensus in Pakatan Rakyat on hudud laws and Islamic state.”

The Ipoh Timur MP then pointed out that the idea of an Islamic state was supported and advocated by the three most recent prime ministers — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Lim claimed that this contradicted the positions of the first three prime ministers — Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak and Tun Hussein Onn — who considered Malaysia a secular nation and not an Islamic state.

“It is the leaderships of the  MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP and the other Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties who were ever-ready to give unquestioned support to the declarations by the last three prime ministers, beginning with Mahathir’s ‘929 Declaration’ that Malaysia is an Islamic state on September 29, 2001, who should be repudiating their past positions instead of trying to pull the wool over the people’s eyes,” added Lim.

Renewed talks regarding the implementation of hudud laws and an Islamic state started when DAP national chairman Karpal Singh stated that he was firmly opposed to such laws being implemented should PR take over the federal government.

Karpal had argued that such laws were “unconstitutional” and that everyone had to respect the constitution.

PAS spiritual advisor Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat claimed that Karpal was the only DAP leader raising the issue, adding that other leaders were silent on the matter.

Nik Aziz said that Karpal’s views did not represent the views of DAP.

In the 1999 general election, the DAP together with PAS and PKR formed the Barisan Alternatif coalition, which collapsed after two years when DAP quit due to PAS’ objective of forming an Islamic state.

The unprecedented co-operation between DAP and PAS then resulted in the defeat of DAP’s strongmen Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh in Penang due to non-Muslim voters’ fear of the Islamic party.

Faizal Wong Abdullah regrets but…

May 18th, 2010
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Got this off Malaysiakini. I wonder what made him to be influenced in the first place. I’m not sure if the guy can opt to not undergo counseling and just re-convert. Probably have to tough it out. Counseling can take months to year.

This should be a lesson to the rest of us to think carefully before taking the plunge.  Have faith and reaffirm your knowledge in your own religion first. Don’t be tempted by promises or sweet words.

Civil servant Faizal Wong Abdullah, 54, wants to renounce Islam – which he embraced on the persuasion of friends on Oct 6, 1999 – and return to Buddhism.

In March he took the rare step of filing, on his own accord, an application with the Kuala Lumpur Syariah High Court to renounce Islam.

As Negri Sembilan is the only state with legislation to renounce Islam, he immediately ran into a roadblock in the legal process.

In addition, the Federal Territory (FT) Islamic Council entered a preliminary objection to his application, seeking to get him to undergo counselling instead.

This is usual procedure in Malaysia. Apostasy is a serious offence in Islam and applicants are directed to undergo counselling.

Wong had told Syariah High Court judge Mohammad Abdullah that he does not want counselling.

When the matter came up for mention today, Mohammad fixed June 2 to hear a submission from the council and told Wong to appoint a lawyer.

Wong was in tears when met outside the court, saying that on his wages he cannot afford a lawyer.

“All I want is to go back to my original religion. I respect Islam and its principles but I have never been able to practise and be a good Muslim. I cannot find peace in Islam, as I was brought up to practise Buddhism,” he said.

“Please help me go back to my faith. As I have told the judge, I do not want to undergo counselling sessions. What is the use of undergoing counselling when I have made up my mind?”

Wong explained that he had embraced Islam after being influenced by friends. He then went to Malaysia Islamic Welfare Organisation in Kuala Lumpur to complete the conversion procedure.

He insisted that the conversion has only been nominal, as he has not followed it up with practice and at heart has remained a Buddhist.

“I remain unmarried. Hence, my application to renounce Islam does not affect anybody except myself,” he said.

“Since, embracing Islam, I have been sidelined by my family. My two brothers and three sisters have shunned me. I have not been able to go back to celebrate Chinese New Year and my parents have passed away since.

“Malaysia prides itself on practising freedom of religion. I just want my right to practise Buddhism. I have been practising Buddhism all this while despite being a Muslim.”

Wong said he hopes to approach MCA for assistance and support, especially in hiring a Syarie lawyer to pursue his case up to Syariah Court of Appeal – the highest in the Islamic legal system – if this becomes necessary.

‘Lina Joy’ revisited

Wong’s predicament will bring to mind the Lina Joy case which saw a landmark decision in apostasy cases, when the Federal Court ruled that the jurisdiction for the renunciation of religion lies with the Syariah Court.

Unlike Wong, Lina took her application to the Kuala Lumpur Civil High Court, taking into account the absence of legislation in the FT Syariah jurisdiction.

Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim (right), in a majority decision, ruled that the National Registration Department (NRD), which is in charge of issuing identity cards, had the right to demand that the Syariah Court certifies Lina’s conversion.

“On the question that the NRD has the right to demand a certification from the Islamic court that confirms the appellant’s renunciation of Islam, my answer is that NRD has the right,” the judge said.

He also said that apostasy is within the powers of Islamic law and that the Syariah Court has jurisdiction, concluding that the civil courts cannot interfere in the process.

Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum ruled that the NRD had no statutory duty to decide on apostasy.

Penang’s Syariah Appeal Court had two years ago allowed Siti Fatimah Tan Abdullah to return to her old religion after it ruled her conversion, due to marriage, was not valid.

hope Shamala and her children gets justice

April 29th, 2010
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Actually, I don’t have a good feeling about this case. Something tells me Shamala will lose, even though I hope she will get justice. More discrimination I guess.

Come Monday, five judges from the highest court in Malaysia, will hear an application by a Hindu mother to challenge for the custody of her two underage sons, who became Muslim, after her husband converted them without her consent eight years ago.

The S Shamala vs Dr M Jeyaganesh case, will be heard by the Federal Court on May 3, and is bound to touch on racial and religious sentiments in multiracial Malaysia.

The case and its rulings will be a precedent to other child conversion and custody cases.

Normally, the Federal Court would have three judges hearing a particular case. However, owing to the complexity of this case as it involves constitutional matters, it had decided on a five-member bench.

Such cases have become contentious issues in Muslim-majority Malaysia as they centre on whether a parent has the right to convert their children, without the consent of the other spouse, in a civil marriage.

Other contentious issues which would be argued include whether the civil courts have the jurisdiction to hear cases concerning conversion of non-Muslim children by one parent, and whether the Syariah Court has exclusive jurisdiction to determine whether a conversion of a minor is valid or not.

… The Shamala case comes up almost a year after the appellate court heard her appeal and decided that the apex court had to rule on five constitutional questions.

Background to Shamala’s case

Shamala and Jeyaganesh were married in 1998 according to Hindu rites, with their marriage registered under the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976.

Sometime in November 2002, Shamala’s husband converted to Islam, taking on the name Muhammad Ridzwan Mogarajah.

Subsequently he converted their two underage sons (then aged four and two respectively) to Islam without Shamala’s knowledge or consent.

She filed an application for custody of the children at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, and obtained an interim order from the court to grant custody of their children, while her husband was granted access.

However, before the interim custody order was made, Ridzwan obtained a hadanah custody order from the Syariah Court.

Shamala did not attend the Syariah Court hearing because she was a non-Muslim, and subsequently a warrant of arrest was issued against her, and also for failing to produce the children in the Islamic court.

After realising the children had converted to Islam, Shamala filed at the High Court for a declaration that the conversion of her two sons was null and void.

This is based on the Federal Constitution and the Guardianship of Infants Act granting her equal rights in determining the religion of the children.

However, in April 2004, the High Court dismissed her application stating that this was a matter for the Syariah Court.

Ridzwan meanwhile, obtained interim access from the High Court, and used his weekly visitation rights under the civil court to see the children.

At one instance, the father took the children from Shamala and refused to return them because he had obtained a Syariah Court hadanah (custody order).

Following this, Shamala filed for committal proceedings against her husband. He eventually returned the children after the High Court cited him for contempt, and held that he violated the interim custody order issued by the High Court.

In July 2004, the High Court granted Shamala ‘actual custody’ of the children, and decided that she would share ‘legal custody’ with her husband.

However, the court held she would lose custody if “there are reasonable grounds” to believe she would influence the children’s Islamic beliefs.

Five appeals filed

As a result of the case, five appeals were filed – four by the husband and one by Shamala at the Court of Appeal.

  • Ridzwan appeal’s over the High Court’s decision in dismissing his preliminary objection that the court had no jurisdiction to hear custody cases as the children had converted to Islam;
  • His appeal on holding him for contempt when he refused to abide by the civil court’s order to return the children to Shamala;
  • The husband appealing a warrant of arrest issued by the Syariah Court against his wife had been set aside by the civil court;
  • Ridzwan appeal over the High Court’s decision in giving actual custody to his wife, Shamala is cross-appealing against the decision seeking sole custody and the removal of the caveat she cannot influence her children’s faith; and
  • Shamala appealing to nullify the conversion of her children to Islam.

Following this, the Court of Appeal three-member panel headed by Justice Abdull Hamid Embong recognised the case involves important constitutional matters.

Since constitutional matters are within the realm of the apex court, it had decided to grant leave to appeal and transfer the case there. Hence, Monday’s hearing.

Questions to apex court

Five questions, which were agreed by the Court of Appeal and posed to the Federal Court to decide are:

1. Whether Section 95 (b) of the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act 1993 is ultra vires (beyond the powers) of Article 12 (4) of the Federal Constitution (specifically concerning the right to determine the religion of the children under the age of 18 shall be determined by the parent or guardian) and Article 8 regarding equality rights?

2. Whether the same section in state law is inconsistent with federal law namely Section 5(1) of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1961, and is therefore invalid;

3. Regarding Article 121 (1A) of the Federal Constitution, where a custody order of children is made, which court, between the Syariah Court or the High Court is the higher authority.

4. When there is conversion of children of a civil marriage to Islam by one parent without the consent of the other, are the rights of remedy for the non-Muslim parent is vested in the High Court?;

5. Does the Syariah Court have jurisdiction to determine the validity of conversion of a minor into Islam, once it had been registered by the Registrar of Muallafs (Registrar for newly-converted Muslims).

Justice Abdull Hamid, who has now been elevated to Federal Court is unlikely to hear this appeal as he has heard it in the Appellate Court.

It is hoped the hearing and verdict would help resolve the long-standing issue which has affected many families facing a similar situation.

One of the cases likely to be affected by the outcome of the Shamala case include the M Indira Ghandi case in Ipoh.

Similar to the Shamala case, Indira’s husband converted to Islam and also converted their three children.

Indira is seeking the custody of the children and requesting the annulment of the children’s conversion.