Thursday, September 20, 2007

Islamic Bigotry

The Taliban-ization of Malaysia

This article was published in The Star 2 days ago and the tone of it's arguments and the opinions contained within just reeked of hypocrisy and bigotry.

To all the so-called 'leaders' who are actually entertaining the prospect of replacing our common laws with one that is based on Islam, have they ever paused to take into consideration the concerns and sensitivities of the other races? Do they really believe in abiding by and upholding the constitution set by our forefathers? Is the progress and advancement of Malaysia as a secular nation truly on their wish-list or do they harbor secret fantasies of seeing Malaysia turn into a Taliban-like state where things such as kites, mirrors and computers are banned?

Time and time again, the Malay leaders (and the Malays who support them) have shown that they only serve one segment of hell with the rest. No matter how much lip service they pay to the idealistic sounding concepts of 'religious tolerance', 'racial integration' and 'equitable wealth distribution', everyone knows that it has always been and always will be one-sided.

When they speak of religious tolerance and acceptance, it is all about other religions tolerating and accepting the teachings and practices of Islam. It is never, NEVER the other way round. When faced with the dismay and indignation of the Chinese and Indian communities, the Malay leaders like to offer up a particular section of our country's constitution which speaks of the right to religion and worship for all races.

Give me a break. Even to this day, temples are indiscriminately torn down and church permits are denied for no obvious reason. Does this sound fair to you?

As if all that (I won't even get into the topic of the NEP) wasn't bad enough, now we have this. Islamic law for Malaysia, oh goody!

Just what we need to see 50 years of hard-work go down the drain as we descend back into the middle ages, or as what so many Muslim 'intellectuals' like to call it, 'Zaman Kegemilangan'.

Two particular sentences stood out from the sea of drivel shown below.
Prof. Ahmad boldly states that the formation of MCL must be based on the basic law of the land, i.e. Islam and Malay customs.
We all know that the sentence stops there don't we? Based on the 'stellar' track record of our Muslim leaders, I have no reason to believe otherwise. Forget about other religions and customs, after all, isn't Malaysia a 'Tanah Melayu' where all the other races are basically unwanted infidel squatters?
All must understand that while Islam is theologically distinct from other religions and whose worldview is complete, in terms of similarities as far as ethics, morality, its value system and legal principles, it has a lot in common with other major religions.
Condescending isn't it? From the sentence above, it clearly shows that they consider all other religions to be inferior to Islam. Islam is the only one whose world-view is complete? That certainly is new to me.

Worlds continue to fail me. I just can't believe that an educated person (or so he claims), who is exposed to other cultures and religions can form such narrow-minded thoughts. Whatever happened to political correctness? Whatever happened to unity in Malaysia?

I'm sick of asking those questions without finding any answers.


Malaysian Common Law
Dr. Wan Azhar bin Wan Ahmad
Fellow Kanan

18/09/2007 | The Star

The Chief Justice of Malaysia, YAA Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim, in his officiating speech at IKIM's seminar surrounding ‘Ahmad Ibrahim: His Intellectual Thought and Contributions' last August, expressed his disappointment over the captive mentality of our legal experts, practitioners, judges and lawyers in reference to the high esteem the aforementioned accord English law, or to be more specific, English Common Law (ECL).

He regrettably noted that despite the fact that our nation has been independent for fifty years now, we still retain, follow and rigidly adhere to s. 3 and 5 of the Civil Law Act 1956 (CLA). The provisions of these two sections prescribe the complete application of ECL for the entire nation.

In reality, many tend to interpret these sections as if we are duty bound to refer to English Law in case of lacuna in our own law. In relation to this, Tun Ahmad Fairuz posits four important questions for us to ponder, particularly by the legal fraternity: (i) Does this condition reflect that this country is bereft of legal expertise? (ii) Does it mean that English Common Law is the best option? (iii) Does it mean that our legal experts are still shackled by the yoke of the colonials (di bawah tempurung penjajah)? (iv) Is it true that our legal scholars are impotent, in other words unable to formulate and develop a legal system better in comparison with ECL? He has called for the Common Law of England to be replaced by our very own common law.

The CJ's remarks were reported in local dailies nationwide. Amazingly, many commented positively, including some political leaders. But, there were also voices of discontent from certain quarters describing the call to replace ECL as ‘baseless.'

What is ‘English Common Law'? In brief, it refers to the unwritten law of custom based on the decisions of judges over a period of years in England, i.e. law derived from custom and judicial precedent. This includes the rules of equity, and later, various statutes of general application, developed and administered in that country.

This set of laws was introduced to Malaysia by the British colonials firstly through various treatises with the local rulers followed by legislation and decisions by English judges or judges trained in the English legal system.

The call by Tun Fairuz reiterates the call made by another (former) Chief Justice, Tun Abdul Hamid Omar (in 1990), who said words to the effect that being an independent country, our reference to ECL and the rules of equity - by virtue of s. 3, CLA - is politically indefensible. He continued that s. 3 needs to either be repealed or amended.

It is not an exaggeration to say that actually all these recommendations may be traced to the famous legal expertise of Prof. Ahmad Ibrahim. Many would agree that he was not only the originator but the prime mover of this idea, and many were inspired by him.

Prof Ahmad wrote that s. 3 and 5 of the CLA shall be amended by repealing all references to ECL and the rules of equity administered in England. He strongly suggested that we should refer to the courts decisions in Malaysia instead by applying our own laws and by giving priority to the local conditions and its people, thus establishing and developing our own Malaysian Common Law (MCL).

Prof. Ahmad argues that the last part of s. 3 of CLA itself should allow for the formation and development of MCL. It provides that "the said common law, rules of equity and statutes of general application shall be applied so far only as the circumstances of the States of Malaysia and their respective inhabitants permit and subject to such qualifications as local circumstances render necessary."

Obviously, the CLA is not to be followed blindly or literally. The very provision itself suggests that even its drafters expect us to develop our own common law. Indeed, there are enough grounds for us to establish our MCL.

Unfortunately, Prof. Ahmad laments, in spite of the fact that all our civil court judges, from the lowest to the highest, are all appointed from among Malaysians, they do not show interest or use their abilities to modify ECL to suit or to conform to local circumstances.

If there is any modification, which is very rare, it is done by rejecting an English law in preference for another English law. So, in spite of our independence, local judges and lawyers, and possibly draftsmen, are not. We are still tied to English law and to its court's decisions.

Tun Fairuz lends his full support to the notion of repealing or amending CLA. He stresses that it should be done using whatever necessary and possible modifications, in the spirit and perspective championed by Prof. Ahmad.

It is hard to really understand why certain ‘learned' groups - both within the legal fraternity and without - refused to forsake ECL. Prof. Ahmad boldly states that the formation of MCL must be based on the basic law of the land, i.e. Islam and Malay customs. He finds support for this in the court decision of Ramah v Laton (1927) presided over by an English judge. Could this form the raison d'etre for such a rejection?

To hold to this as true is baseless, unfounded and would encourage fear of the unknown and bring islamophobia to the surface. Historically, it is logical, and no one can argue the fact that the basic law of any nation must always be associated with real truth and justice.

All must understand that while Islam is theologically distinct from other religions and whose worldview is complete, in terms of similarities as far as ethics, morality, its value system and legal principles, it has a lot in common with other major religions. There's tremendous parallelism of all world religions in these aspects.

So when we talk about a Malaysian Common Law, we mean the formation and development of a system of law based on these ethical, moral and legal values shared by the followers of the major religions.

There may be certain values in the English legal tradition that may not suit our common moral precepts. It is against these elements that we must stand united. This is the spirit that should be remembered when we argue for a cessation to reference to foreign laws to settle our disputes. In this regard, any notion of a super imposition of any one religious theological teaching upon the followers of other religions must never be part of that consideration.

For a common law system in our pluralistic society to become manifest, the basis should be Islam, and arguably to a lesser extent, Malay customs. This must not be taken as an outright denial of the role and contribution of other religions or races. Input from other cultures and traditions will serve as great additions towards a harmonious peaceful life in this beloved land. Perhaps the best term to describe the formation and development of this Malaysian Common Law is ‘malaysianization.'



Blogger perkinsonline said...

I think the Malays do not understand that the chinese and indians n other races are assets to the country. And without US the country will fall apart.
Anyways I want to show u a video called "Islam - What the West needs to know"
Please watch it and blog about it or tell me what you think.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Dr.Prince (王子- 陳琮祐) said...

They always believe they are the perfect one,but this is a wrong mindset, This tot, means, they 'should' and suppose to enjoy all benefits, and it is right to occupy the most. Frankly, no one suppose to own anything in this country, except yourself, and work-out with your bare-hand...

8:30 PM  

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