Any laws contradicting Islamic scriptures invalid, ex-CJ claims

BY YISWAREE PALANSAMY
Former Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim speaks at a special lecture on Islam as the law of the land at the Majestic Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, March 25, 2017. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 — Any laws which run contrary to Islamic scriptures are null and void, said a controversial former chief justice who had once proposed that the English Common Law be replaced by Shariah laws.

In a lecture on “Islam as the law of the land”, former chief justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim had interpreted that the supremacy of Shariah laws is only second to the Federal Constitution.

“I feel anything which is in contradiction to Islam is unconstitutional,” Ahmad Fairuz said.

“The privy council has ruled in a case in Singapore that a law, to be valid, must conform to the fundamental rules laid down by the English law,” he related, saying that this view was then also adopted by Malaysia.

“However, as Islam is the federal religion, surely the fundamental principles of the law should be based not only on the English Common law, but on the Shariah,” he added.

Ahmad Fairuz said that the Islamic holy book of Quran, and the Sunnah, the traditions and practices Prophet Muhammad, are the main source of Islamic laws.

He then claimed that reading Articles 3 and 4 in the Constitution together means that any laws contradicting Islamic scriptures are void.

Article 3 states that “Islam is the religion of the Federation”, while Article 4 states that “Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation” and any law passed after Independence and inconsistent with it shall be void.

“And hence, laws that are against the Quran and Sunnah is null and void,” he said.

The lecture today was co-organised by the Malaysian Lawyers Circle, Malaysian Muslim Lawyers Association, Concerned Lawyers for Justice, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia’s legal arm iPeguam, and the Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy.

In his speech, Ahmad Fairuz also lamented that Malaysia's laws are "antique" as it is based on the English Common Law which was administered in 1956.

"So antique are our laws. We have been independent since 1957, but this is still rooted in our laws. Sad," he said adding that those who practise it, are being “colonised in their minds”.

The former judge had proposed the idea since 2007, comparing it to Sections 3 and 5 of the Civil Law Act that permit judges to import English Common Law to fill in the country’s judiciary gaps.

In September that year, Ahmad Fairuz was implicated in the V. K. Lingam video scandal. He retired two months later and was succeeded by Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad.