THE Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) welcomes the statement by the Law Minister on Sept 7 that there were no proposals to enact law to restrict or control the development of the non-Muslim religions and neither was the matter brought to the cabinet yet.
Thus this statement clearly contradicts with the earlier statement made by the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (religious affairs), Ahmad Marzuk Shaary who had stated that the government was drafting four new syariah laws “including the control and Restriction on the Propagation of “non-Muslim Religions Bill.”
This Deputy Minister’s statement had caused great anxiety amongst the non-Muslims and thus the clarification by the Minister helps to calm things down.
Since the Deputy Minister has not withdrawn his statement, the MCCBCHST wishes to point out that there are many flaws in his statement and wishes to remind that Article 11 (1) of the Federal Constitution clarity gives the right to every person: “to profess and practise his religion and, subject to clause (4), to propagate it”. This means every person has the fundamental right to practise and propagate his religion, subject to clause (4).
What does than clause (4) of Article 11 provide. It only deals with a very narrow area and provides that federal law may control or restrict propagation of other religious doctrines to Muslims, that is:
“...federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.” Thus, where there is no propagation of other religions doctrine or belief to Muslims, clause (4) will not apply. Where there is practise and propagation of non-Muslim religions amongst themselves only, clause (4) will have no application again.
In fact, the right of freedom of religion is so fundamental that it cannot be curtailed even during an Emergency. This is provided for Article 150 (6A).
The MCCMCHST therefore wishes to remind the Deputy Minister that the basic structure of the Constitution will not allow for a theocratic Islamic state for Malaysia. In our case, all religions are subject to the Constitution.
In view of the apparent contradictions between the statement by the Law Minister and the earlier statement by the Deputy minister, the MCCBCHST calls upon Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri
Yaakob to clarify the issue before causing further anxiety among our citizens.
1. Sardar Jagir Singh Arjan Singh
Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC)
2. Dao Zhang Tan Hoe Chieow
Federation of Taoist Associations Malaysian (FTAM)
Deputy President MCCBCHST
3. Datuk R.S. Mohan Shan
Malaysia Hindu Sangam (MHS)
Vice President 1 MCCBCHST
4. Archbishop Julian Leow Beng Kim
Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM)
Vice President 2 MCCBCHST
5. Venerable Seet Lee Terk
Malaysian Buddhist Association (MBA)
Vice President 3 MCCBCHST