Thursday, April 05, 2007

Federal Constitution supreme law of the land

Syariah laws should bind non-Muslims

In the landmark decision of the Appeals Court, the mother of R. Subashini, a Hindu was told by the Court of Appeal that she had to seek recourse through the Syariah Appeal Court to stop her estranged and Muslim-convert husband from dissolving their marriage in the syariah court, and converting their children to Islam without her permission.

This we feel is great injustice and an infringement of our basic human rights, to subject a non-Muslim to Muslim laws although we have legitimately constituted laws to govern us, the Federal Constitution.

Recently a number such cases were on the rise and the improper handling of each of them had given rise to great anxiety among the non-Muslim communities in the country. The decision in the Subashini case had increased our fears and dampened the hopes for a fair hearing of our inter-religious conflicts. If the civil courts that are instituted to protect the rights of the non-Muslims fails them where do we go next to obtain justice?

The ordinary citizen has nowhere to turn to for justice except the judiciary and if the institution, that is established to grant him justice fails, it would be a great tragedy not only to the person who seeks justice but also the institution itself. Judges must base their verdict on the laws as provided for in the Federal Constitution and not emotions and personal convictions.

The Federal Constitution is the highest law of the land and all other laws should are constituted based on its provisions and therefore should not supercede it for whatever reason. Everyone regardless of his race, creed or social status should respect and abide by the provisions of this supreme law of the land. If any group is allowed to go against these provisions there is real danger of the nation falling into a state of lawlessness that will only lead to chaos.

The judiciary must safeguard the trust placed in it to mete our justice for all citizens, without fear or favour.It should at all times be guided by the provisions of the Federal Constitution and not personal believes and convictions.

The proactive move of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Christianity and Taoism (MCCBCHT) to encourage nationwide prayer and create awareness of our rights should be supported by all peace loving citizens, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. We must put aside our differences to come together to resist the rule by fanaticism and emotion that are threatening to take over the reigns of power not only in the judiciary but in the nation as a whole.

As Christians it is time for us to wake up from our slumber and complacency. We must do our part to make known, in no uncertain terms, our firm opposition and displeasure to any party attempting downgrade the Federal Constitution to make it subservient to any other laws in the country. Let us make known our stand, by all available means, that we who would only be subjected to the Federal Constitution and none other.

At the same time let us pray, week after week, that God bestow us with the leaders and judges who have the wisdom and courage to uphold the rule of law and the Federal Constitution at all costs so that truth and justice would always prevail in our multi-racial and multi-religious Malaysia.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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