The Malaysian Concord (Part 4) – The Position and Function of the Malay Rulers

This article follows a previous one on the Malay and Bumiputera special rights.

A couple of days ago it was made known to the public that the street names in a certain suburb of Shah Alam were changed to Chinese characters, in contravention of Sections 2 and 9 of the National Language Act, 1963/67.

Yesterday, HRH The Sultan of Selangor decreed that the street names be taken down and replaced by ones in the Malay language, which is the National Language.

I mentioned in a previous post that a national language is a tool to unite the peoples of Malaysia. 

It was the intention of our forefathers in the quest for independence to have ONE language to unite all, and that is the Malay language with a Romanised written form, so that the non-Malays could learn the Malay language rapidly (Tunku Abdul Rahman, The Road to Independence, 1984: pp.112-114).

I gather that those were the reasons His Royal Highness issued the decree mentioned above – in line with one of the functions of the Malay Rulers: to care for the people’s welfare.  Therefore, if there is any issue that may cause tension, the Malay Rulers will step in to remind the people to respect each other and to respect the laws.

What I find disgusting in this episode is that the local government, or local council, allowed for the street name change to happen, forgetting that every instrument of the government is acting on His Majesty’s Service.

Not too long ago, all government envelopes had URUSAN SERI PADUKA BAGINDA stamped at the top; that was until someone who was not fond of the Rulers changed that to URUSAN KERAJAAN.

 

Essentially, all government branches, including the Federal cabinet as well as the state executive councillors, are acting on behalf of the Yang DiPertuan Agong and Sultan (in the case of states).  

They are not independent of the Rulers – which is why they are sworn in before the Agong or the Sultan.

The Malay Rulers have divested much of their independence now as they did before during the period of British administration.

However, both they and their state remain sovereign. Independence is not equal to sovereignty.

The British were here through the various treaties signed with the respective Malay Rulers.  Save for the Japanese occupation, Malayan Union period, Pulau Pinang, Melaka and for a while, Pangkor, the Dindings and Larut, Peninsular Malaysia was never under British colonial rule.

There were three test cases to determine the sovereignty of the Rulers and the state they ruled:

 

  1. The infamous Mighell v The Sultan of Johore (1894) where it was ruled that, although the Sultan by treaty had bound himself not to exercise some rights of a sovereign ruler, this did not deprive him of his character as an independent sovereign;
  2. In Duff Development Company Limited v The Government of Kelantan (1924), the House of Lords similarly upheld the sovereignty of Kelantan and its Ruler was not intended to be qualified by the terms of the treaty.
  3. In Pahang Consolidated Company Limited v State of Pahang (1933), the Privy Council summarised the constitutional position in Pahang as follows: subject to the limitations which the Sultan had from time to time imposed upon himself, he remained ‘an absolute ruler in whom resides all legislative and executive power.’ (See, 1894; Q.B 1924; A.C and M.L.J).

The British were in the Malay states to assist the Malay Rulers in the administration and management of their respective states, and were under the Rulers’ payroll.  

The only matters that they could not touch were the states’ Islamic affairs and Malay customs.

Sir Frederick Lugard wrote of the British Residents:

“From the first to last the theoretical independence of the states was the governing factor in the system evolved in Malaya. The so-called ‘Resident’ was in fact a Regent, practically uncontrolled by the Governor or Whitehall, governing his ‘independent’ state by direct, personal rule, with or without the co-operation of the native ruler.” (Sir F.D Lugard, The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa, London, 1926: pp.130-1, vid. pp.8-10).

One such Resident was of course James Wheeler Woodford Birch who, in the words of Sir Richard Olaf Winstedt, “dashed into Perak’s Augean Stables like an angry Victorian schoolmaster, confident that it could all be cleaned up with a little firmness and decision.” (Winstedt, History of Perak, JMBRAS, xii, 1).

Birch’s monumental tactlessness, especially over the regulation of taxes, drove all the Sultan’s Chiefs into frantic opposition which resulted in his assassination in 1875.

Other than the occasional odd behaviour by some Residents, the Malay Rulers and their state remained sovereign and ‘independent’.  In an answer to Colonel Josiah Wedgwood (Labour – Newcastle-under-Lyme) about the control over the states of Malaya, Sir Phillip Cunliffe-Lister (Conservative – Hendon), Secretary of State for the Colonies replied:

“There is no question at all of altering in any degree, even by a comma, the Treaties which bind us, and which are charters of the agreements with the Rulers both of the Federated and the Unfederated Malay States.” (British Parliament Hansard, Commons Sitting, Class II, HC Deb 14 July 1933 vol 280 cc 1429).

With the Independence of Malaya, all the administrative powers handed down by the Malay Rulers to the Federal and State Councils was passed to the government that was chosen by the people of Malaya in the 1955 elections.  

The Federal cabinet administer the government of the Yang DiPertuan Agong, who was elected by the Malay Rulers to represent Their Highnesses at Federal level, while the Menteri Besar and state executive councillors administer the state for the Sultans.

The Malay Rulers, as owners of this land, continue to enjoy their position with their income regulated by the respective laws, and receive advice from the Menteris Besar (or in the case of the Yang DiPertuan Agong, the Prime Minister). 

This is evident in Article 181(1) of the Federal Constitution which states:

“Subject to the provisions of this Constitution,” the “sovereignty, prerogatives, powers and jurisdiction of the Rulers…as hitherto had and enjoyed shall remain unaffected.”

The same was noted by Mark R Gillen of the Faculty of Law, University of Victoria (Gillen 1994:7). 

In the words of the late Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, former Lord President, it is:

“a mistake to think that the role of a King, like that of a President, is confined to what is laid down by the Constitution, His role far exceeds those constitutional provisions” (Azlan Shah 1986:89).

In 1867, Bagehot asserted in “The English Constitution” that the Constitution needed two parts: the dignified – to excite and preserve the reverence of the population’ and the other, the efficient – to ‘employ that homage in the work of government’. 

The monarch was the prime example of dignity in this sense and the Prime Minister (Menteri Besar) and his cabinet (executive councillors) of efficiency.  

Therefore, the monarch, while lacking executive power, had an important constitutional role.

HRH The Sultan of Selangor was correct in the exercise of his function when reminding the people to not touch on the matters that have been agreed upon and are already enshrined in the Constitution – the sanctity of Islam, the National Language, the Malay and Bumiputera special rights, and the position and function of the Malay Rulers.  

Such action, had the Sultan not interjected, would be naïve and dangerous to the fabric of the society.

In the words of Sultan Nazrin Muizuddin Shah of Perak in July 2011:

“Rulers must use wisdom to calm situations, but they do not have a ‘magic lamp’ to keep unity, especially when the situation has become chaotic. “

(This article was first published on The Mole)

The Malaysian Concord (Part 2) – The National Language

IN part one (The Malaysian concord (Part 1) – the sanctity of Islam), I wrote about HRH The Sultan of Selangor’s displeasure of the challenge by a certain group against the sanctity of Islam, the National Language, the special rights of the Bumiputera, as well as the function and position of the Malay Rulers that are enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

I read the comments on the issue at the online page of a mainstream newspaper.  What I saw was blatant ignorance on the part of the readers. This ignorance, if gone unchecked, will be dangerous to the future of this nation.

Many commentators mentioned that the Reid Commission had recommended for certain special privileges to be reviewed after 15 years, but was never done.  

I need to put this record straight. In many of my writings, I mentioned that those party to the agreement of the independence of Malaya were the British government, the Malay Rulers, and the Alliance party as the government of the day.

Lord William Reid was tasked to form an independent commission to draft the new constitution for a post-independence Malaya.  

The idea to have an independent, non-Malayan constitutional commission came from Tunku Abdul Rahman himself.

The Malay Rulers were for a commission that consist of local politicians, lawyers and other professionals, just as India and Burma (later Myanmar) had. Ghana, Pakistan and Ceylon (later Sri Lanka) opted for a mix of local and foreign constitutional experts.

Tunku felt that it was important to have a non-Malayan independent commission to draft the Malayan post-independence Constitution as it would be able to avoid local prejudices and perform its task with complete impartiality (PH/A/008/4, MCA Files, Memorandum by Tunku Abdul Rahman, 1 March 1955).

This he intimated to Sir Donald Charles MacGillivray, the last British High Commissioner in Malaya, and told the latter before leaving for the January 1956 Independence Conference in London that the commission should consist of legal experts with sufficient knowledge of constitutional developments in the Commonwealth (CO1030/132(3) MacGillivray to A.M. MacKintosh, Head of the Southeast Asia Department of the Colonial Office, 5 January 1956).

So again, I would like to reiterate that the function of the Reid Commission was only to draft the Constitution with input from all those party to the independence agreement, and make recommendations to those parties.  

The Commission itself was never a party to the discussion, let alone of the agreement.

Going back to the issue of the national language, it was in the Alliance’s manifesto for the 1955 federal elections to have a national language to foster a common nationhood, with plans to upgrade the Malay language as the national language.  

As safeguarding the interests and rights of the Malay and Chinese communities being the key features of its manifesto, protection for the languages of the other communities as well as their growth and development was also guaranteed.

The earlier version of the Alliance’s memorandum to the Reid Commission did state a 15-year time frame for the special position of the Malays and Malay as the national language.  

However, in view of the radicals in both Umno and MCA at the time where the former questioned the principle of jus soli while the latter questioned the need for Malay special rights and a national language, an inter-communal constitutional bargain was made and was conveyed to the Reid Commission orally that the time-frame be omitted (PH/A/008/4, Memorandum by Tunku Abdul Rahman, 1 March 1955).

This was the version that was accepted not just by those within the Alliance, but also by the Malay Rulers as well as the British government.

Five years later, this same subject was brought forth to all who would be affected by the formation of the Federation of Malaysia.

The Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee chaired by North Borneo’s Donald Stephens in its memorandum stated the it accepted the view that the Federation of Malaysia should have a national language and placed no objection to the adoption of the National Language of the Federation of Malaya, Singapore and Brunei which is also the lingua franca of the region (Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee Memorandum, 3 February 1962: pp. 122).

Even the Cobbold Commission, a Commission of Enquiry set up to gauge the support of the people of North Borneo and Sarawak for the creation of the Federation of Malaysia noted in its report that its Chairman (Lord Cameron Fromanteel Cobbold) felt in view that Malay is the closest to a lingua franca in Borneo than any other language, no derogation from the Federal provision was necessary (Report of the Commission of Enquiry, North Borneo and Sarawak, 21 June 1962: pp. 54).

The Inter-Governmental Committee (a committee that consists of the Federation of Malaya, and Great Britain – looking after the interests of its colonies of North Borneo and Sarawak)  reported that Malay should be the language of the Federation of Malaysia, but Article 152 of the proposed Federal Constitution (based on the Federal Constitution of Malaya) be modified in its application to the Borneo states so as to secure that the English language may be used in an official capacity for a period of ten years after Malaysia Day (Malaysia Report of the Inter-Governmental Committee, 1962: pp. 26).

A national language is an important tool for creating “national” consciousness.  

Hindi is the national language of India, as Mandarin, Thai and Bahasa Indonesia are respectively in the China, Thailand and Indonesia.  

It is difficult to understand why, after 61 years, are we still having this argument about what the national language should be.

What kind of national identity are we to have when we cannot even communicate with each other in one common language?

(This article was first published in The Mole)

Sabah 20-Point Agreement: Language

Colonial passport for the colonised people of North Borneo
For the previous installment on religion, please click HERE.

 

Dr Jeffrey Kitingan also raised the point on language on pages 11-12 of his book, ‘The 20 Points – Basis for Federal – State Relations for Sabah, 1987′.  Language was the second point of the 20-Point Memorandum put forth before Malaysia was formed.

His points were, that:

  1. Malay should be the national language of the Federation;
  2. English should continue to be used for a period of ten years after Malaysia Day;
  3. English should be the official language of North Borneo, for all purposes, State or Federal, without limitation of law.

Dr Jeffrey wrote that it was Tun Mustapha’s administration that had changed the status of English by passing a bill and introducing a new clause 11A into the State Constitution, making Bahasa Malaysia the officia language of the State Cabinet and the State Legislative Assembly.

At the same time, he claimed, the National Language (Application) Enactment, 1973 was passed purporting to approve the extension of an Act of Parliament terminating or restricting the use of English for other official purposes in Sabah.

He also said that the National Language Act, 1963/67 was only amended in 1983 to allow it to be extended to Sabah by a State enactment, but no such enactment had been passed.  Therefore, the National Language Act, 1963/67 is still not in force in Sabah.

He claims that the amendments hae brought about the following consequences:

  1. Many civil servants who were schooled in English are employed as temporary or contract officers because of their inability to pass the Bahasa Malaysia examination.
  2. The change in the medium of instruction in schools have affected the standard of teaching due to lack of qualified Bahasa Malaysia teachers.
  3. The teaching of other native languages has been relegated to the background.

Now, let us see what the Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee (MSCC), the Cobbold Commission, the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) as well as the Federation of Malaysia Agreement had to say about the points raised above.

Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee (MSCC) Memorandum

On Page 122 of the MSCC Memorandum, the Committee accepted that the Federation should have a national language and placed no objection to the adoption of the National Language of the Federation of Malaya, Singapore and Brunei (the Malay language) as it is the lingua franca of the region.

However, the MSCC had asked the Parliament to make provision for the English language to remain to be used for a period of TEN YEARS after the formation of the new Federation in 1963.  This is in light of the same period given to the states in the Federation of Malaya in the Federation of Malaya Constitution that is TEN YEARS after 1957.

The Cobbold Commission

According to the Report of the Commission of Enquiry, North Borneo and Sarawak (the Cobbold Commission) dated 21 June 1962 on page 54, the objection to the use of Bahasa Melayu as the language of the Federation and its application to North Borneo and Sarawak are matters that the people of the two states should resolve themselves when fully-elected representative bodies have been constituted.

The Chairman and members from Malaya do not think that their opinion of Bahasa Melayu being the language closest to those spoken in the region and therefore should be the lingua franca should not offend the non-Malays and any derogation from the Federal provision is necessary.

On the issue of official languages the Cobbold Commission found that there is majority support for both Bahasa Melayu and English to be used as the official languages in both the Borneo states without any time limit.  This was the view of the Chairman of the Commission and its British members.

The members from Malaya however thought that with MALAYSIA in total consideration such provision cannot be accepted as it breaches the existing provisions in the Federation of Malaya Constitution.  Therefore the Malayan members recommend that a provision be made without affecting the position of Bahasa Melayu as the official language of the Federation where English shall continue to be an official language in the states of North Borneo and Sarawak along with Bahasa Melayu for a period of ten years after the establishment of the Federation of Malaysia.

This shall continue until such time the Federal government in consultation with the State governments provides otherwise.  The same was recommended for application to the indigenous languages used in debates and discussions in the respective state assemblies.

The Chairman and the British members however opined that there should be no time limit applied to the indigenous languages, until and unless the State governments decide otherwise.

The Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC)

The IGC on Page 26 of its report recommended that Bahasa Melayu be made the official language of the Federation of Malaysia but Article 152 of the Constitution should be modified for its application to the Borneo states as follows:

  1. For a period of TEN YEARS after Malaysia Day and until the State Assemblies provide otherwise, English becomes an official language not just for the State Assemblies but also in other official purposes of both State and Federal, including correspondences with Ministries and Federal departments.
  2. For a period of TEN YEARS after Malaysia Day and until the Parliament of Malaysia provides otherwise, English shall be allowed to be used by representatives from the Borneo states in both Houses of Parliament.
  3. For a period of TEN YEARS after Malaysia Day and until both State Assemblies provide otherwise, all proceedings in the Supreme Court for cases involving cases from the Borneo states and all proceedings in the High Courts of both Borneo States shall be conducted in English.
  4. Until the State Assemblies provide otherwise all proceedings in the subordinate Courts in the Borneo states other than the taking of evidence, shall be in English.

Of course at the end of it all parties agreed upon something hence the Federation of Malaysia Agreement, 1963 was signed.  So what does the Agreement say?

Federation of Malaysia Agreement, 1963

Taking into account the recommendations and points made in the MSCC, the Cobbold Commission and the IGC, the Federation of Malaysia Agreement, 1963 on pages 42 and 43 made provisions that no Act of Parliament terminating or restricting the use of English for the purposes stated below shall come until TEN YEARS after Malaysia Day:

  1. the use of the English language by the representatives from the Borneo states in either house of Parliament,
  2. the use of the English language for proceedings in the High and Subordinate Courts of Borneo until the State Assemblies provide for otherwise, or for proceedings in the Federal Court that involves cases from the Borneo states,
  3. the use of the English language in the Borneo states in the Legislative Assemblies or for other official purpose including the purpose of the Federal Government,
  4. the use of native languages in the native courts and in the case of Sarawak, the use of native languages in the State Assembly until otherwise provided for by an Enactment of the legislature.

During the Tun Mustapha Administration the status of the English language was altered in a bill by inserting a new clause called Clause 11A into the Sabah State Constitution, 1989 (pages 17-18), making Bahasa Malaysia as the official language of the Sabah Cabinet and of the State Legislative Assembly.

The content of this Clause is as follows:

“Without prejudice to clause (8) of Article 24, the official language of the State Cabinet and the Legislative Assembly shall be in Bahasa Malaysia:

Provided that:-

a) notwithstanding the provisions of this Article, the English language may be used for such period and for such purposes as may for the time be provided by or in accordance with Article 152 of the Federal Constitution; and

b) an official English version shall be provided of anything which is required to be printed or reduced into writing and may be published in the Gazzette.”

However, Jeffrey disputes the passing of the National Language (Application) Enactment, 1973 that allegedly allows the application of an Act of Parliament to terminate or restrict the use of the English language for other official purposes in Sabah.  This preceded the National Language Act 1963/67 that was only amended in 1983 to allow it to be applied to Sabah through a state enactment.  Nonetheless, there was no state enactment on the matter that was passed as of 1991.  As such, as of 1991 the National Language Act, 1963/67 was still not enforced in Sabah.

Based on the Federation of Malaysia Agreement (Malaysia Agreement), 1963, it is clear that the position of the English language as an official language can be altered TEN YEARS after Malaysia Day.  It was put into force through a law that was enacted by the State Legislative Assembly of Sabah in 1973.  Having said that, no specific enactment was passed as of 1991 to enforce the National Language (Amendments and Extension) Act, 1983 in Sabah.

Jeffrey Kitingan’s assumptions and allegation pertaining the illegality of the National Language Act, 1963/67 and State Enactment No.7, National Language (Application) Enactment, 1973 which preceded the National Language (Amendments and Extension) Act, 1983 by ten years was more of playing a regional sentiment especially in the context of teaching and learning of the indigenous languages in Sabah.

Questioning the use of Bahasa Malaysia as the official language after 27 years of Sabah being part of the Federation of Malaysia clearly displays the arrogance on Jeffrey’s part, and his refusal to accept the fact that the Bahasa Malaysia is the reflection of the spirit of the people of Malaysia that forms a bridge for all races towards national integration.

In the next installment, we shall talk about the third point – CONSTITUTION.

Lighting The Wrong Path

Alwi_Jantan
Tan Sri Alwi Jantan

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be a moderate.  Moderation is what is preached in Islam.  Moderation is what seems to be eroding by the day not just in Islam, but in other religions and cuts across the racial board as well.  And this applies to every single country there is on the face of this Earth.  And to have a group of people advocating moderation is a more-than-welcome effort in this young-but-amnesiac country that seems to have lost all institutional memory of the events that had brought about the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

Reading the The Star’s interview with Tan Sri Alwi Jantan (Torchbearers for founding fathers – Sunday, 4th September 2016) I cannot help but agree to some of his points, but at the same time feel as if there is some form of misguidance, or misinterpretation of the Federal Constitution, and a deliberate misleading on the respected Tan Sri’s part.

I agree that rather than focusing on petty issues such as whether or not the Langkawi statue is haram, the religious councils as well as JAKIM should focus more on the development of correct as well as balanced knowledge on Islamic subjects such as TauhidFardhus Ain and Kifayah.  This is important to counter the influence of deviationists especially that of the Da’esh.  However, religious as well as racial extremism is not confined to Islam alone.  In the name of pluralism as advocated by the G25, there should only be single-stream schools.  Children who do not grow up together will grow up apart. We can never talk about unity and understanding if we do not understand each other.  Preserving the mother-tongue can be done after formal classes are over and this can be done at the school itself, perhaps after lunch. So could the Islamic religious classes. In the latter category, this would ensure that correct teachings are being imparted to the children rather than by private religious schools whose curriculum are not being monitored effectively by the religious councils. Also that way working parents do not need to worry about the whereabouts of their children and can pick them up at school after work, or a similar arrangement could be made.

In a plural society such as ours, the need for our children to grow up together for the sake of unity is paramount. Sending children to separate schools based on mother tongue rather than a common national language is against the spirit of the Constitution. When the Constitution was being drafted for it to be in operation by Merdeka Day 1957, the Reid Commission adopted the Alliance’s (UMNO, MCA and MIC) proposal to establish Malay as the official language of the Federation. However, there were differences on how to go about with this.  Ng Ek Teong, the MCA representative submitted that English should be allowed to be used for official purposes for a minimum of 10 years. MIC was in support of this.  Both MCA and MIC also proposed for Mandarin and Tamil be allowed to be used in the legislatures for a minimum period of 10 years.  UMNO however proposed that English be allowed to be used for a maximum period of ten years after independence. Ng Ek Tong told the Commission that this would only serve as a temporary measure (Colonial Office CO 889/6, Minutes of Alliance hearing before the Reid Commission, 27 September 1956, pp 290-294).  Tunku Abdul Rahman however said:

“At the end of 10 years, the general trend will be that people will still demand for it and the people who propose it now are not sure that they would be there to guarantee it. It is bound to cause a lot of debate later on.” (Ibid.)

Even Lord William Reid himself was not in favour of the proposal by MCA and MIC saying that it would cause practical difficulties (Ibid/Making of the Malayan Constitution, Joseph M Fernando, pp 128-129).  It was for this reason that the Tunku promoted the Rumi script for the Malay language at the expense of the Jawi script to enable the non-Malays to learn the national language rapidly (Tunku Abdul Rahman (1984), op. cit., pp. 112-114).  This has been enshrined in Article 152 of the Federal Constitution as well as in the National Language Act, 1963/1967.

The reality of it now is that the migrant workers from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Myanmar are more able to grasp the Malay language than many of our own Identity Card-wielding citizens.  Mind you, they also stood still at Dataran Merdeka while the NegaraKu was being played. Our own citizens refuse to stand up when the NegaraKu was being played in the cinemas, extinguishing the very torch of our founding fathers.

The Constitution is secular only up to a certain point. The Reid Commission, commissioned by both Her Majesty The Queen of England and the Malay Rulers had initially omitted a proposal by the Malay Rulers to have Islam as the religion of the Federation.  Reid saw it fit that matters of religion be handled only by the Ruler of the respective States, and that the special position of the Malays be reviewed after 15 years.

When the report was published, the strongest objections came from the man revered by Malaysians now as the father of multiracialism – Dato Onn Jaafar, who as the leader of Parti Negara said that the Malays had been let down.  PAS claimed that the Malay interests had been cast aside (von Vorys (1975), op. cit., p.132). Hence, the Tunku later submitted that Islam be made the religion of the Federation with two provisos added: first that it would not affect the position of the Rulers as head of religion in their respective States; second, the practice and propagation of other religions to the non-Malays in the Federation would be assured under the Constitution (UMNO/SUA 154/56, Minutes of Alliance ad-hoc political sub-committee meeting, 2 April 1957).

Sir Donald Charles MacGillivray personally felt that such a provision would be advantageous because the Yang DiPertuan Agong could at the same time become the head of the faith in the Settlements of Penang and Malacca (CO 1030/524 (10), MacGillivray to Secretary of State, 25 February 1957; See also CO 1030/524 (18), MacGillivray to Secretary of State, 21 March 1957).

Fast forward to the present, Article 3 of the Federal Constitution has clearly mentioned Islam as the religion of the Federation with the Rulers being the Head of religion in their respetive States, while the Yang DiPertuan Agong becomes the Head of religion in the States of Pulau Pinang, Melaka, Sabah and Sarawak, as well as in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya.  It is not an official religion but the religion of the Federation.  The provisos added to safeguard the practice and propagation of other religions are now enshrined in Article 11 with limits to propagate given in Clause 4 of the said Article, to safeguard and honour the position of Islam as the religion of the Federation.

There is even a separation of jurisdiction when it comes to the position of Islam in the Federal Constitution.  The Syariah Law comes under the purview of the respective Rulers, and the Attorney-General of Malaysia, under Article 145(3) does not have the jurisdiction over proceedings before a Syariah court, a native court of a court-martial.  This separation of jurisdition is also present as provided by Article 121(1A) where both the High Court of Malaya and High Court of Sabah and Sarawak do not have any jurisdiction over Syariah matters.  Therefore, the respected Tan Sri should be aware that, borrowing the words of Sir Stamford Raffles in a 1815 letter to his cousin mentioned how “Religion and laws are so united” in Muslim dominated areas that the introduction of Christian beliefs will bring about “much mischief, much bitterness of heart and contention”. (Seademon, A Case For God, 1 Jan 2013) .

Even Act 355, the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act, 1965 (last revised in 1988)  states the following:

1. (1) This Act may be cited as the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction), 1965.

1. (2) This Act shall apply to all the States of Peninsular Malaysia.

2. The Syariah Courts duly constituted under any law in a State and invested with jurisdiction over persons professing the religion of Islam and in respect of any of the matters enumerated in List II of the State List of the Ninth Schedule to the Federal Constitution are hereby conferred jurisdiction in respect of offences against precepts of the religion of Islam by persons professing that religion which may be prescribed under any written law:

Provided that such jurisdiction shall not be exercised in respect of any offence punishable with imprisonment for a term exceeding three years or with any fine exceeding five thousand ringgit or with whipping exceeding six strokes or with any combination thereof.

The Act, clearly says that it first and foremost, applies to all States of the Peninsular Malaysia. It is not applicable to where the Yang DiPertuan Agong is the Head of religion ie. the Federal Territories, Sabah and Sarawak.  Second, it applies only to Muslims and any matters in List II of the State List of the Ninth Schedule to the Federal Constitution. Third, it cannot propose any punishment that prescribes any jail term exceeding three years, or with any fine exceeding five thousand ringgit, or with whipping exceeding six strokes or with any combination thereof.

Therefore, there is no question of introducing stoning to death, amputation of limbs etc.  Anything above those limitations will be referred to the Criminal Courts.

So, Tan Sri, care to explain how are secularism and pluralism being attacked with examples of provisos of the Federal Constitution or any laws made under it?

Finally, let me quote the interview given by the respected Tan Sri to The Star:

G25 has also expanded its scope to include good governance and tackling corruption. As not only the former head of the PSD but also former secretary-general in the Local Government and Federal Territory Ministry, Health Ministry and Agriculture Ministry, Alwi has focused on good governance, which he calls the precondition for a constitutional democracy: “Those in power must be made accountable for their actions and conduct.”

During his time, civil servants were able to do their jobs without fear or favour, he recalls. “The division of responsibilities between the politicians and civil servants was fairly clear cut.”

But over time good governance has been eroded at an alarming rate, he says.

“There are hardly any more checks and balances.”

What either the good Tan Sri or The Star have also failed to mention is the fact that for more than three years, Tan Sri Alwi Jantan was the Deputy Secretary-General for the Prime Minister’s Department under the founder of Parti Pribumi, Mahathir Mohamad.  Mahathir’s now good friend, Lim Kit Siang, wrote not so long ago, on Thursday, 12 February 2015 at 12.57pm:

“This shows the rot in Malaysia, but it is a rot which was started during Mahathir’s 22-year premiership, and by Mahathir himself!

Today, Mahathir is obsessed with the toppling of Najib as Prime Minister, but this is not because he wanted to stop the rot in Malaysia, to restore the independence and integrity of the judiciary and a just rule of law; to end the subversion of the independence and professionalism of national institutions whether the civil service, the police, the elections commission or anti-corruption agency; eradicate rampant corruption; restore ethics and honesty in public life; re-establish a good education system or restore Malaysia’s economic competitiveness.

Mahathir wants Najib out as the Prime Minister for Malaysia, not to stop the rot which was started by him during his premiership, but for an agenda personal to himself.

This is the rot of Hamlet in Malaysia.”

I’m surprised the good Tan Sri had made no mention whatsoever of this episode.  And he was a civil servant by definition, under the tutelage of the Pribumi person himself and remained in public service until 16 April 1990, thirteen years before Mahathir steped down.

So, Tan Sri, it is good that you want to become the torchbearer of the founding fathers of this blessed nation. However, please ensure that you are on the right path first before you decide to light that torch and guide others.

Allah Nak Letak Di Mana?

Sebelum saya meneruskan penulisan saya ini saya ingin mengajak anda menonton klip video ini:

Ahli Parlimen DAP dari Kuching enggan berucap dalam Bahasa Malaysia
Ahli Parlimen tersebut telah membaca Artikel 161(1) Perlembagaan Persekutuan yang berbunyi:

Tiada Akta Parlimen yang menamatkan atau menyekat penggunaan bahasa Inggeris bagi apa-apa maksid yang disebut dalam Fasal (2) hingga (5) Artikel 152 boleh mula berkuatkuasa berkenaan dengan penggunaan bahasa Inggeris dalam Fasal (2) Perkara ini sehingga sepuluh tahun selepas Hari Malaysia.

Malangnya, dalam video yang kita saksikan sebentar tadi, Ahli Parlimen DAP tersebut tidak menyebut mengenai had sepuluh tahun selepas Hari Malaysia, iaitu pada 16 haribulan September 1973. Sebaliknya, bekiau berkeras menyatakan bahawa ianya menjadi hak beliau sebagai orang Sarawak untuk terus menggunakan bahasa Inggeris di dalam sidang Parlimen.

Setelah Hari Malaysia 1973, iaitu tamatnya perlindungan hak sepuluh tahun berbahasa Inggeris, Akta Bahasa Kebangsaan 1963/67 (semakan 1971) secara automatik berkuatkuasa di seluruh Persekutuan Malaysia. Ini bermakna bahasa penghantar rasmi bagi Sabah dan Sarawak juga adalah Bahasa Malaysia. Walau bagaimanapun, Seksyen 5 Akta tersebut memberi kelonggaran untuk seseorang Ahli Parlimen mahupun Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri dari Sabah dan Sarawak untuk berucap dalam bahasa Inggeris di dalam majlis Parlimen tetapi dengan izin Speaker Dewan. Ianya bukan lagi suatu hak mutlak. Sekiranya tidak diizinkan oleh Speaker Dewan maka setiap Ahli Parlimen mahupun Dewan Undangan Negeri hendaklah menggunakan Bahasa Kebangsaan. Malah Akta tersebut dipinda semula pada tahun 1983 dan diperluaskan lagi.

Saya berasa hairan akan kedegilan pihak DAP yang terus menggunakan bahasa Inggeris sedangkan tidak berapa lama dahulu mereka memperjuangkan penggunaan Bahasa Kebangsaan dalam Kitab Injil malah tetap dengan pendirian mereka bahawa penggunaan kalimah Allah dalam kitab Injil adalah sebahagian dari ajaran Kristian yang tidak boleh diabaikan.

Oleh kerana mereka kini berkeras ingin gunakan bahasa Inggeris di dalam Parlimen, adakah ini juga bermaksud kalimah Allah tiada lagi kepentingan dalam perjuangan DAP?

  

Ini bukan kali pertama Ahli Parlimen Kuching daripada parti DAP ini mempersenda dan mempertikai apa yang termaktub dalam perlembagaan dan bersuara bagai menanam kebencian terhadap Malaysia.

Pada 17 September tahun lalu, Chong menganggap lagu kebangsaan Negaraku sebagai memalukan dan mengarut sebelum meminta maaf.