Sarawak PKR chief refutes former CJ on Shariah law supremacy

Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian (pic) says Ahmad Fairuz's statement was not supported by any compelling legal argument. ― Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, March 26 — Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian dismissed today former Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim’s argument that any laws that contradict Islamic scriptures are null and void.

The senior lawyer said Ahmad Fairuz's statement was not supported by any compelling legal argument, but based on his personal feeling that anything which contradicted Islam was unconstitutional.

“His simplistic misinterpretation of Article 3 of the Federal Constitution is a contradiction of Article 4, which he conveniently ignores,” Baru said when responding to the former chief justice.

Article 3 refers to Islam as the official religion of the federation, while Article 4 refers to the Federal Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

In a lecture on “Islam as the law of the land” yesterday, Ahmad Fairuz had interpreted that the supremacy of Shariah laws was only second to the Federal Constitution.

Baru, who is Ba'Kelalan state assemblyman, said it was unfortunate that the former chief justice made such a gross error in his interpretation of the Constitution.

He reminded the former chief justice that the importance placed on freedom of religion in Sarawak, with the state having no official religion, was reflected in the Malaysia Agreement and Cobbold Commission Report.

“Furthermore, our forefathers had signed the Malaysia Agreement with a secular state, and that must remain so,” he said.

Baru also questioned the basis for Ahmad Fairuz to remark that Muslims did not care about equality, but were happy to have hudud implemented in this country.

“Does he have any research to back up his statement? How can he claim to speak for all Muslims in the country, including Sarawakian Muslims?” he asked, pointing out that the weight of Ahmad Fairuz’s remark was about the same as that of someone’s insistence that the earth was flat.