Sunday, January 06, 2008

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Federal Constitution: Syariah Court holds no jurisdiction over non-Muslims
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In a special interview with The Edge (3 Sept 07 edition), the Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi was reported as saying that “to get the feeling that when (Non-Malays) go to the Syariah Court they will not get justice, is wrong … the Syariah Court cannot be seen as anti Non-Muslims because they are not.”

These remarks allegedly made by the Prime Minister are viewed with great concern by the MCA Youth Legal Bureau.

The Federal Constitution has clearly stipulated that the Syariah Court has no jurisdiction over Non-Muslims and that Non-Muslims are subject to the sole jurisdiction of the civil courts. The two jurisdictions are distinct and shall not be confused with each other.

A fortiori, whether a Non-Muslim would be treated fairly or not in a Syariah Court is entirely beside the point and is a non-issue. To put it simply, the Syariah Court has no business in dealing with civil laws or Non-Muslims’ affairs.

The MCA Youth Legal Bureau is worried that the PM’s remarks could cause unnecessary confusion and purportedly justifies the unconstitutional extension of the Syariah jurisdiction over matters within the sole realm of civil jurisdiction.

In these circumstances, the MCA Youth Legal Bureau urges the Attorney General to duly advise our national leaders accordingly. Our national leaders might otherwise make unintended or ill-advised unconstitutional remarks which will cause anxiety to Non-Muslims.

MCA Youth Legal Bureau