Malaysia Is Not A Secular State

I came across a very interesting read, an article written by Raja Petra Kamarudin. I am not a fan of RPK nor an avid follower of his writings, but this particular article had lots of things that I am in agreement of. Personally, I would step up the argument from "Malaysia Is Not A Secular State" to "Malaysia Is State of Islam".

Read till the end.



By: Raja Petra Kamarudin

On Sunday I changed the title of my article ‘Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar: Hudud versus Secularism’ to ‘Hudud to hurt Amanah in by-election campaign’ (READ HERE) and some people asked me why I did that.

The answer is simple, really. After I published the article I realised that the impression the title gave is that there are only two sides to a coin. On one side of the coin is Hudud and the reverse to Hudud is Secularism. This is not true. So before people started debating Hudud, rather than debate the Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by-elections, which is really what the article is about, I changed the title.

The issue in that Sunday article is not Hudud. The issue is how is Amanah going to explain its stand on Hudud in the Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by-election campaign? Is Amanah going to say it opposes Hudud? Is Amanah going to say it supports Hudud? Or is Amanah going to ‘play safe’ and not take any stand either way? And would ‘playing safe’ be better or, in fact, be worse for Amanah?

As Amanah President Mat Sabu said, they need votes from PAS and Umno supporters to win (mainly because Amanah’s registered members come to less than 1,000 nationwide) — plus, of course, they need the non-Malay votes, which comes to about one-third. So Amanah feels it would be best to keep silent and not say anything regarding Hudud and just keep the voters guessing.

Anyway, today’s article is not about the two by-elections. It is about the statements that many senior lawyers, constitutional experts and political leaders are making regarding Hudud. You would imagine that this category of people would be able to explain the issue with clarity. However, it appears that either they are confused or they are trying to confuse Malaysians regarding the issue of the legality or otherwise of Hudud.

“Hadi must not ignore the fact that there have also been voices of objections from Muslim Malaysians on hudud implementation. DAP is not anti-Islam or any religion. We accept and respect that Islam is the official religion of the federation. While we respect Islam and the position of hudud in Islam, our consistent position is that implementation of hudud laws is against the Federal Constitution and not suitable in a plural society like Malaysia,” said DAP MP M. Kulasegaran.

The argument against Hudud

Kulasegaran’s statement is similar to the statements of many others — senior lawyers, constitutional experts and politicians included — that Hudud laws are against the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. Basically the argument against Hudud can be broken down as follows:

1. Malaysia is a Secular State (and not a Theocratic State) as stipulated in the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

2. Hudud violates the Constitution.

3. Hudud contradicts the Constitution.

4. You cannot have two sets of laws in Malaysia.

5. Hudud is unfair to Muslims.

6. Hudud is a barbaric law.

7. Hudud will bring Malaysia back to the Middle Ages.

8. There is a danger that non-Muslims would also eventually be subjected to Hudud.

There are also those who quote Article 4(1) of the Malaysian Constitution — This Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation and any law passed after Merdeka Day which is inconsistent with this Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.

That, of course, is true. But then the Malaysian Constitution is full of contradictions and ambiguity and while one Article may say one thing, another Article will say the opposite. So, if you want to quote Article 4(1) of the Malaysian Constitution, I can quote another Article that cancels that.

For example, the Malaysian Constitution says you have freedom of association, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of choice, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, and much, much more. All this is mentioned in the Malaysian Constitution and we are guaranteed all those freedoms.

But then we cannot form or join the Communist Party, we cannot ask to abolish the Monarchy and turn Malaysia into a Republic, we cannot organise an anti-Islam demonstration, we cannot assemble in a large group without permission from the police, we cannot openly say that Muhammad was a fraud and the Qur’an is a fake, we cannot leave Islam to become a Christian, Muslims cannot drink beer/liquor, we cannot have almost naked women parading or dancing/singing on stage, we cannot publicly say that Jesus was the last prophet of Allah who was also the Son of Allah and no other prophets came after Jesus, men cannot dress as women and participate in transvestite (or lady-boy) beauty contests, Muslims cannot have sex outside marriage, Muslims cannot gamble, etc.

There are so many things that the Malaysian Constitution allows and guarantees and yet at the same time there are many laws that do not allow what the Malaysian Constitution allows. So, which do we follow? Do we follow the Malaysian Constitution or do we follow the laws that forbid what the Malaysian Constitution allows?

Is Malaysia a Secular State?

Many senior lawyers, constitutional experts and politicians argue that Malaysia is a Secular State and that is what the Malaysian Constitution stipulates (implied or expressed in the Constitution) and that was what the Founding Fathers had in mind and had guaranteed us.

Article 8(1) of the Malaysian Constitution is often quoted to oppose two sets of laws (one for Muslims and another for non-Muslims) — All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.

If that is so then why are Muslims who drink or who engage in extra-marital sex arrested? If non-Muslims can drink and can engage in extra-marital sex, and if all persons are equal before the law and are entitled to the equal protection of the law, then Muslims should not be punished for doing what non-Muslims are allowed to do.

That shows that while the Malaysian Constitution may say one thing, in practice the opposite actually applies. So is Malaysia a Secular State as many argue? In a Secular State, religious laws do not apply. Religious laws apply only in a Theocratic State. So, while the Constitution is silent and does not say whether Malaysia is a Secular State or Theocratic State, the fact that religious laws apply means Malaysia is not a Secular State.

So why are these seniors lawyers, constitutional experts and politicians telling Malaysians that Malaysia is a Secular State and that is why we need to oppose Hudud? Do they not understand the Constitution and the law or are they intentionally trying to fool Malaysians and lie to Malaysians?

Malaysia is not a Secular State. Nowhere in the Malaysian Constitution does it say Malaysia is a Secular State. The Malaysian Constitution also does not say that Malaysia is a Theocratic State either. But religious laws apply although they apply only to Muslims and not to non-Muslims.

So what, then, is Malaysia if it is not a Secular State or a Theocratic State and yet religious laws still apply, although they apply only to Muslims and not to non-Muslims? Well, maybe I can explain that by saying that Malaysia, just like China, is one country with two systems. And is that so strange?

We must remember that Malaysia came into being (as Malaya) in 1957. But then Islam had already been established as the religion of the land back in the 1400s. And the British decided that they would respect and retain the customs, traditions and religion of the Malays and not disturb them or change anything. The British did not even attempt to covert Muslims to Christianity like they did the non-Muslims.

And that was why when the British wrote the new Constitution for the Federation of Malaya they inserted certain safeguards concerning the Malay Rulers, the Malay language, the Malay customs and traditions, and the Malay religion into the Constitution. And to make sure that no one who takes control of two-thirds of Parliament can change this, the British strengthened these safeguards by placing all these under the authority of the Conference of Rulers, who need a unanimous vote and not just a majority vote to change this.

In other words, if Pakatan Harapan tells you they need to take control of two-thirds of Parliament to amend the Constitution to remove the Monarchy and turn Malaysia into a Republic or to remove the special position of the Malays or to remove the Malay language as the National Language or to remove Islam as the religion of the Federation, they are lying. Only the unanimous vote by the Conference of Rulers can do that. And to make sure that Parliament does not do a coup d’├ętat on the Rulers, the British placed the military under the Rulers. The Rulers are the commanders of the entire armed forces and they are trustees to the protection of the special position of the Malays, the Malay language and the Malay religion.

And to make sure that the non-Malays do not try to dominate the military (say by Act of Parliament if they happen to gain a two-thirds majority in Parliament), the British created the Malay Regiment, which can be called upon to protect the Rulers, the special position of the Malays, the Malay language and Islam. Try to disturb all this and the Malay Regiment will whack the arses of the non-Malays kau-kau.

So there you are. If you want to talk about the Federal Constitution of Malaysia then that is what the Federal Constitution of Malaysia says. And why aren’t the senior lawyers, constitutional experts and politicians telling you this? They love quoting the Constitution. But have you noticed they never quote the Article in the Constitution, or the corresponding Article in the Constitution that overrides this, or the implications of that Article and what it means?

It is like arguing that according to the Constitution, and as guaranteed by the Constitution, Anwar Ibrahim has freedom of choice. So why did they arrest and charge him for sodomy with another man? Okay, Mat Sabu of Amanah did not have sex with another man. He was just caught in a hotel room with another man’s wife and it seems they were not naked or rolling in bed. Why did they arrest Mat Sabu?

In short, the Religious Department is telling us ‘to hell with the Constitution’. Islam comes first.

Hudud is about Islam, not about the Constitution

The problem is, those who oppose Hudud use the law and/or the Constitution to argue their case. Muslims who support Hudud, however, use Islam to argue their case. And while the opposers to Hudud argue that the Malaysian Constitution is supreme, the proposers of Hudud argue that the Qur’an is supreme.

Are these anti-Hudud people telling Muslims that the man-made Constitution drafted by the British (meaning non-Muslim Colonial Government) overrides and is above the Holy Book, the Qur’an that was revealed by Allah to Prophet Muhammad? Yes, that is what the anti-Hudud people are telling the Muslims. The man-made Constitution drafted by the British comes first and is above the Qur’an while the Book from God comes second and is below the man-made Constitution drafted by the British.

Now try telling the Muslims that according to the man-made Constitution drafted by the British, almost naked girls parading or dancing on stage is allowed, Muslims drinking beer is allowed, men dressed up as women is allowed, extra-martial sex involving Muslims is allowed, Muslims converting to Christianity is allowed, etc.

Yes, the man-made Constitution drafted by the British allows all this and the Qur’an is not above but below the man-made Constitution drafted by the British. So you cannot arrest Muslims who parade and/or dance half-naked on stage, or Muslims who drink, or Muslim men who dress up as women, or Muslims who engage in extra-marital sex, or Muslims who convert to Christianity, and much more.

Muslims do not understand Hudud?

Some say Muslims do not understand Hudud and that is why they do not oppose Hudud. That is so insulting. It is like saying Christians do not understand the Ten Commandments and that is why Christians are extremely immoral people. Who does not understand the Ten Commandments? Even non-Christians can quote the Ten Commandments from memory. And Muslims know very well what the Six Commandments of Hudud are.

The trouble is, non-Muslims do not know the Six Commandments of Hudud (some Muslims regard it as the Seven Commandments), so they assume since they do not know then that means Muslims do not know as well. Stop any Muslim on the street and ask him or her the following questions:

1. Are you a Muslim?

2. Can Muslims drink?

3. Can Muslims eat pork?

4. Can Muslims gamble?

5. Can Muslims have sex with someone they are not married to?

6. Can Muslims enter into gay marriages or live with a gay partner?

7. Can Muslims make false allegations of sexual misconduct against someone?

8. Can Muslims leave Islam?

9. Can Muslims eat or drink during fasting hours?

10. Can Muslims skip the five times a day prayers for no reason whatsoever other than because they are lazy?

11. Can Muslims steal, rob or cheat?

12. Can Muslims run gambling dens, gaming outlets, casinos, loan sharking businesses, massage parlours, bars, discos, nightclubs, or brothels?

13. Can Muslims reject Allah as God and Muhammad as the last Prophet of God?

Yes, just ask any Muslim you meet on the street these ‘Ten Commandments’ and see what they say. Then stop another nine Muslims on the street and see what they also say. Then tell me whether all ten answer exactly the same way or whether they are all confused about these ‘Ten Commandments’.

Long before Malaysia became a nation in 1957, Islam was already the religion of the land and the Syariah was already the law of the Muslims. And now these non-Muslims who just became citizens of Malaysia in 1957 want to teach Muslims about Islam and tell Muslims what they can and cannot do and that Hudud has nothing to do with Islam but is about the Constitution.

During the time of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and Charles I, Britain regarded Papists or those who follow the Roman Catholic Church as deviants and non-Christians. They were put to death and their churches were burned to the ground. Charles I was accused of allowing Catholicism to seep into the Palace and he was opposed and eventually beheaded. His son, Charles II, who later took the throne, was very careful to not upset the Church and he kept his distance from Catholicism. And do you know, by law, you must belong to the Church of England to sit on the throne of England?

What if I were to tell the Catholics in Malaysia that in my opinion they are not really Christians but deviants? And since they are deviants, Catholicism should be banned in Malaysia because deviants of any religion are disruptive to the peace and stability of the country. That is my opinion and my opinion matters just like the opinion of the non-Muslims regarding Hudud and how Muslims should practice Islam.
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