29 March, 2007

It’s unreasonable!

A cabinet minister yesterday said it is unreasonable for non-Muslims who married under non-Islamic laws to submit themselves to syariah court jurisdiction.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok told theSun it was a worrying trend that the civil courts were unwilling to take up disputable cases like this.

He was referring to the Court of Appeal decision on March 13 asking R. Subashini, a Hindu, to seek recourse through the Syariah Appeal Court.

Dompok said: "I don’t think she should be expected to seek recourse in the syariah court. She could be Buddhist, Catholic, Sikh or profess any other religion. The principle is there (that she was married under non-Muslim rituals)."

The Court of Appeal had dismissed Subashini’s appeal to stop her Muslim-convert husband, Muhammad Shafi Saravanan Abdullah, from going to the syariah court to dissolve their civil marriage and to convert their young children to Islam.

Without referring to specific cases, Dompok said some judges had allowed their "personal sentiment" to cloud their judgment. "This is the impression that the people have now."

He said the long-term solution to resolve this disputable issue was to review the relevant laws to remove "grey areas" and to ensure justice and fairness to all parties.

He said even lawyers have different views over the matter, so the public should not be expected to have confidence in the system.

On the arguments that non-Muslims should not fear to seek justice in the syariah system, he said non-Muslims did not think they should appear before syariah courts set up to judge Muslims.

"We don’t want to pre-empt the decision of the syariah courts. But the principle that non-Muslims are subject to syariah laws is first and foremost the objection of non-Muslims. I think the founding fathers of this country never expected this to become a contentious issue," he said.

Dompok was one of 10 ministers who submitted a memorandum to the prime minister early last year, asking for a review of laws and the Constitution so they would not infringe the rights of minorities.

Except for Dompok, the others later withdrew the memorandum.

Asked if he still stood by the memorandum, he said: "To my mind, the memorandum was not at all provocative. As a matter of principle, I stand by it."

On Tuesday, when asked about the party’s stand on the Subashini case, MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said it had been voicing its concerns for the non-Muslim community in internal meetings.

He said its stand was that non-Muslim rights should be based on provisions in the Constitution.

In the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) called on the government and Parliament to take up and resolve issues involving the overlapping of civil and syariah court jurisdiction.

Referring to the Subashini case, he said it was perplexing that the Court of Appeal could ask the plaintiff, a Hindu, to seek remedy in the syariah court.

"Does this mean there is an extension of syariah laws to non-Muslims?" he queried in his debate on a Motion of Thanks for the Royal Address.

Karpal, who is DAP chairman, also asked Parliament to take up the matter, no matter how sensitive it was, and resolve it objectively. He said this was essential as other similar cases, like that involving the late S. Rayappan, had been on the increase of late.



Karpal Singh: Resolve Civil-Syariah overlapping issues

An opposition Dewan Rakyat member has called on the government to take up and resolve issues involving the overlapping of civil and Syariah court jurisdiction.

Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) said it was about time the matter be looked at and a solution found.

Referring to the case of R. Subashini, he said it was perplexing that the Court of Appeal could ask the plaintiff, who is a Hindu, to seek remedy in the Syariah Court in regards to the dissolution of their civil marriage and the conversion of their child.

"Does this mean there is an extension of Syariah laws to non-Muslims?" he queried in his debate on a Motion of Thanks on the Royal Address.

Karpal, who is DAP chairman, also said the time had come for Parliament to take up the matter and resolve it.

"This matter, though sensitive, must be discussed in this hall in an objective manner," he pleaded.

He added this was essential as other similar cases, like that involving the late S. Rayappan, have been on the increase of late.



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1 Comments:

Blogger zewt said...

one of my friend got harassed at a shopping complex before... by soma jais officer... my friend is a non-islam... he stood up and f**k the officer... the officer just went away.

March 29, 2007 9:49 PM  

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