Laws in contradiction to Islamic laws are void, says former Chief Justice

ARFA YUNUS


KUALA LUMPUR: Islamic law is the second most supreme legislation in Malaysia and any other laws that run contrary to it are void said former Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim.

In his interpretation, Ahmad Fairuz said that anything that is in contradiction to Islam or anything that went against Islamic laws’ main sources, which are the Quran and Sunnah, is unconstitutional.

He said it is similar to laws that contradict the Federal Constitution, which will deem it unconstitutional.

“I feel that anything which is in contradiction to Islam is unconstitutional. 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.

“As Islam is the religion of the federation, surely the fundamental principles of the law should be based not only on the English Common law but on the Syariah,” he said when giving a lecture on “Islam as the Law of the Land” at Majestic Hotel here today.

The reason for this opinion, he said was because the Quran, Sunnah, and the traditions and practices of Prophet Muhammad are the main source of Islamic laws.

Hence, he said, reading Article 3 and 4 of the Federal Constitution together means that any laws contradicting to Islamic scriptures are void.

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

“Hence, laws that are against the Quran and Sunnah will also be void.”

When asked on Pas’ Private Member’s Bill dubbed RUU355, Ahmad Fairuz said since there’s a cap on the punishment, the bill will not lead to the implementation of hudud in Malaysia.

Commenting further on RUU355, he said he couldn’t fathom why non-Muslims disagreed with the bill as it has been guaranteed that the amendment would not affect them.

“When it involves a non-Muslim, we can’t use Syariah law, only civil law. This is a Muslim’s right to follow his or her own religion and the Muslims are not asking for equality in that sense. So it shouldn’t be an issue isn’t it?” he added.

Pas President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang had last year sought to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 which has been listed on the Parliament’s Order Paper for this sitting.

On Nov 24, Hadi read out a motion to amend the Bill by inserting the punishment caps of 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 fine, and 100 lashes. Syariah courts’ sentencing powers are currently limited to three years’ jail, RM5,000 fine and six lashes.

Asked further on some Malaysian Muslims expressing concern on the punishment and if there’s an exit for those who are against it, Ahmad Fairuz said no Muslims can opt out of this.

“Pertaining on whether or not Muslims can opt out from this, the Federal Court has stated that, Muslims in Malaysia cannot run away with the two laws – the Federal and the State – and State laws have the right (power) on Muslims, so you cannot opt out as there are two laws in which you are bound.”

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.