June 15, 2014
Jyeshtha Krushna Paksha Trutiya, Kaliyug Varsha 5116
By our Correspondent
The Malaysian Hindraf Association has complained to the Selangor palace over a series of raids by the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) involving non-Muslims.
The movement submitted a memorandum at Istana Alam Shah this morning, calling for the Selangor sultan’s intervention in this matter.
“The Islamic bodies in Selangor seem to have crossed their boundaries and embarked on actions which infringe the rights of the non-Mulim community.
“This has caused much uneasiness and distrust by the non-Muslims in the government adminstration of its agencies which appear to be acting out of control.
“If this matter is not addressed, we fear it would cause great disharmony amonst your subjects,” the memorandum read.
Some 30 people had converged at the entrance of Istana Alam Shah in Klang as early as 11am but had to wait for over an hour as no representative was available to receive the memorandum.
In the meantime, Hindraf supporters, clad in orange, held up banners reading: “Hindraf submits appeal to Sultan Selangor for equal protection on religious freedom under the constitution for non-Muslims”.
A police vehicle later arrived to observe the group but no action was taken.
Sultan’s intervention urged
The group had wanted to meet Mohammad Munir Bani, private secretary to the Selangor Sultan, only to be informed by security guards that he was in Shah Alam.
However they insisted on submitting the memorandum in Klang and after an hour of back and forth discussions, the palace supervisor who introduced himself as Abd Kadir received the document.
“I have spoken to Datuk Munir and he asked me to receive it on his behalf, I promise it will be passed to him by Monday,” he told the Hindraf supporters,” he said.
The handover, at 12.05pm, was cordial. That done they shook hands.
Speaking to the press later, the group’s spokesperson S Karthigesan (right) said the memorandum was in response to Jais gatecrashing a Hindu wedding June 1 on suspicion that the bride was a Muslim.
“We urge the sultan to come forward and provide a solution.
“Among the things we suggested is the establishment of an inter-religious council comprising Muslims and non-Muslims who can advise his royal highness on family law,” he said.
The three-page document also cited the Jais raid on the Bible Society of Malaysia and the confiscation of over 300 copies of Malay and Iban language versions of the Bible containing the word “Allah”.
Karthigesan said the current Jais practice “cannot be condoned” and hoped the Selangor palace will issue an official statement on the matter.
Memo to Sultan Selegnor
DYMM Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah ibni al-Marhum Sultan Salehuddin Abdul Aziz Shah
Istana Alam Shah
Selangor Darul Ehsan.
14th June 2014
Your Royal Highness
RE: RECENT ACTIVITES INVOLVING JAIS OFFICERS ON NON-MUSLIMS
We humbly refer to the above matter.
Malaysia takes great pride in being a melting pot of different cultures, races and religions, co-existing under the purportedly moderate Islamic nation model.
At the drafting stage of the constitution in pre- independence Malaya, drafters of the post-colonial Federal Constitution agreed to establish Islam as the religion of the Federation with Islamic law limited to the conﬁnes of the law of marriage, divorce and inheritance with applicability only to
Muslims as their personal law.
The constitutional grounding of Islam however, does not and should not affect the right of non-Muslims to practice and profess their own religions of choice. Indeed, this is the central feature of religious freedom in Malaysia, enumerated in Article 11 of the Constitution and what has been clearly stated in Article 3(4) of the Federal Constitution..
Almost sixty years later, the rise of several high-profile incidents invoking the right to religious liberty reveals serious problems regarding the parameters of that right embedded in the constitution through Article 11 and Article 8 (3).
For the last few years, several deeply painful and intractable inter-religious disputes have imposed a severe strain on our social fabric and have caused a loss of confidence in the judicial system as an impartial arbiter of inter-communal discord.
Of late, there has been increasing incidents whereby the government officers in Selangor from administrative agencies such as JAIS conducting their activities beyond the scope of their duties by infringing into the personal freedom of subjects of the nation and more particularly your subjects in Selangor, ignoring the supreme law of the nation. We are deeply concerned of this new trend especially the recent Bible raid and Hindu wedding raid at a Hindu temple.
This has led the community as a whole in losing its confidence in both the judicial and executive powers of the nation and Selangor.
The current population of Selangor is around 5.79 Million whereby 53.6% of them are Non-Muslims. The current scenario with over- zealous and usurpation of arbitrary power by JAIS officials in contrary to the Federal Constitution is causing unnecessary instability in the relationship between the communities in Selangor.
The continuous encroachment, abrogation and infringement into the personal freedom of your Highness’s subject by administrative bodies such as JAIS without proper guidance on the provisions of the constitutional guarantee of fundamental rights undergirds and mutates the Federal Constitution that hitherto been the nation’s polity and well-being.
Malaysia being a part of the international community as well as having ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) should be mindful of the negative repercussions and criticisms thrown at her for negligible and irresponsible actions of the administrative agencies like JAIS.
In this testing time of your subjects, Your Highness is uniquely positioned to deliberate on those administrative bodies such as JAIS as the Head of Council of Religion for Selangor state.
As Your Highness is the sovereign of his subjects, whether Muslim or Non-Muslim, Your Highness is well placed to ensure that the interest of your Non-Muslim citizens are not subjected to with wayward actions of the executives in the name of Islam as oppose to what is constitutionally embedded.
Your Highness’s timely intervention is required to strike a balance on actions carried out in the guise of upholding Islam and legal execution of those duties in coherent with the supreme law of the nation. We are of the opinion your subjects are entitled to your protection with regards to fundamental rights especially religious freedom. Of late however, the Islamic bodies in Selangor seem to have crossed their boundaries and embarked on actions which infringe the rights of the Non- Muslim community. This has caused much uneasiness and distrust by the non-Muslims in the Government administration of its agencies which appear to be acting out of control. If this matter is not addressed, we fear it would cause great disharmony amongst your subjects.
Your Highness’s action is not constrained by division of powers whether Federal or State but rather vested in the interest to ensure the continuous prosperity and well-being of the state and the citizens.
Under the Selangor Constitution, Your Highness has the royal prerogative to invoke administrative actions to curb arbitrary actions and initiate a separate inter-religious Council consisting of independent Muslim and Non-Muslim members of the community who can advise Your Highness and Your Religious Council on matters involving family law where it consist of Muslim and Non- Muslim member.
This would augment well on the role of Your Highness as bipartisan above party politics committed to justice and fairness for all Your Highness’s citizen and in addition it may help to repair our frayed social fabric without such causing a tumultuous repercussion between the Muslim and Non-Muslim community.
Thanking you in anticipation.
K. Tamil Selvan