KUALA LUMPUR – The Malaysian Muslim Lawyers Association (PPMM) has described the Malaysian Bar’s stand on hudud as unconstitutional.
PPMM said it was disturbed by and rebuked the Bar’s stand on the matter which appeared in the latter’s press statement titled ‘Hudud is Unconstitutional, Discriminatory and Divisive’ on Friday.
“PPMM is surprised and very much concerned with this pronouncement of the Malaysian Bar which, PPMM believes, does not reflect the majority view of the members of the Malaysian Bar.
“And more so when the contents of the press release in itself seem to project an opinion which is unconstitutional,” PPMM president Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar said in a statement Saturday.
He said PPMM believed that the fundamental flaw of the Malaysian Bar’s stand stemmed from the erroneous opinion that the Federal Constitution was structurally secular.
“As much as as the said Malaysian Bar’s press release may be correct in saying nowehere in the Federal Constitution does it envisage a theocratic Islamic State, but similarly nowhere also does the Constitution envisage a complete secular State,” Zainul Rijal said.
On Thursday, the PAS-dominated Kelantan state assembly had unanimously passed the Syariah Criminal Code II 1993 (Amendment 2015) bill that provides for the application of hudud laws on Muslims upon its implementation.
The move provoked strong reactions from political parties as well as those in the legal circles and other entities.
Zainul Rijal said it was noted that proposers of the view that the Federal Constitution was secular in nature would quickly jump to take support for this view from the Supreme Court decision in the ‘Che Omar bin Che Soh vs Public Prosecutor’ court case in 1988.
“A careful and considered analysis of that judgment will prove that the ‘Che Omar bin Che Soh’ case does not in any way support that position,” he said.
Zainul Rijal contended that a remark attributed to former Lord President Tun Salleh Abbas did not mean that the Federal Constitution as a whole was secular, as it referred to only a particular law, namely the Drug Trafficking and Fire Arms (Increased Penalties) Act.
He said the Malaysian Bar’s stand was based on a wrongful reading of the decision in the “Che Omar bin Che Soh” case.
Zainul Rijal went on to say that the Malaysian Bar had also completely ignored and sidestepped recent decisions of the country’s higher courts which had constitutionally accepted that Islam was a “basic structure” of the Federal Constitution.
PPMM further said that the over reliance of the Malaysian Bar’s statement on Article 5(1), Article 7(2) and Article 8(1) of the Federal Constitution to claim that the implementation of hudud as unconstitutional, was also wrongly based without any proper footing.
The association said it whole-heartedly welcomed the passing of the bill, stating it showed that mature politics still very much existed within the Federation.
“This is proven by the fact that state assemblymen from different parties could cooperate in matters which are important to the public and be decisive in the progressive advancement of democracy, at least at the state level, in Kelantan,” Zainul Rijal said.