Liberalising out of context

In the zest of upholding the feminist movement in the perspective and flavour of universal rights, Sisters in Islam activist Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir is generalising the Malaysian democratic system in the most simplistic interpretation.

The Malay Main online story:

Malaysia not theocratic dictatorship, SIS tells Jamil Khir


NOVEMBER 10, 2014
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 10 — Women’s advocacy group Sisters in Islam (SIS) has told minister Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom that Malaysia is a democracy and not a theocratic dictatorship.

The Muslim women’s rights NGO also said shariah laws are man-made and therefore not infallible, pointing out that the recent court challenges by SIS against a fatwa and by a group of Muslim transgender men against a state shariah law prohibiting cross-dressing were challenges to the “unjust and inefficient” Islamic legal system in Malaysia.

“We would like to remind the minister that Malaysia is a democratic country, not a theocratic dictatorship,” Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, a member of SIS’ board of directors, told Malay Mail Online.

“Our Federal Constitution guarantees the fundamental liberties of every citizen including Muslims. The rule of law applies to everyone, and everyone has a right to seek redress in the courts if they feel they have been unfairly treated,” she added.

SIS also expressed alarm at the call by Jamil Khir, who is the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Islamic affairs, for all Muslims to defend their faith from liberal ideologies “by any method”.

“Does this mean he is giving the go-ahead for anyone to take vigilante action against those the minister deems un-Islamic, including violence? Does this mean that should anyone physically attack such persons, the state will take no action against them?” Marina asked.

Jamil Khir said yesterday that in a “new wave” of assault, Muslim transgenders and SIS are colluding with Islam’s enemies to put its religious institutions on trial in a secular court.

The minister was responding to two recent court challenges where state Islamic authorities were cast into a defensive role, with one initiated by SIS at the High Court here against a Selangor religious edict, or fatwa, declaring their organisation and its members “deviants”.

The other was a separate case mounted by a group of transgender men who were convicted of cross-dressing under the Negri Sembilan state shariah law, which they won at the Court of Appeal Friday.

A three-judge panel at the Court of Appeal had unanimously ruled Section 66 of the Negri Sembilan Syariah Criminal Enactment 1992 to be unconstitutional as it violated the three Muslim men’s right to freedom of expression.

Jamil Khir said Islamic institutions like the state Islamic councils must work together to face “this new wave against Islam”, claiming that there is an “agenda” outside the country’s predominant religion aiming to twist the faith of Muslims.

Malaysia’s religious authorities have long derided liberalism and pluralism, with Friday sermons nationwide claiming a conspiracy by “enemies of Islam” to manipulate Muslims through ideas like secularism, socialism, feminism and positivism, in addition to the two.


The comment of simplistic generalisation could be seen as immature, especially when taken out of context. The fact is that Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd. Yasin and Minister in Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Islamic Affairs Dato’ Sri Jamil Khir Baharom urged the Negeri Sembilan State Government to appeal against the CoA judgement.

NST story:

‘Negri body must appeal ruling on Muslim men’


PUTRAJAYA: NEGRI Sembilan’s religious authorities should seek to overturn the Court of Appeal’s decision declaring its law forbidding Muslim men from dressing up as women as unconstitutional, says Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Describing the landmark ruling as “extraordinary” and “shocking”, Muhyiddin said although the court must be respected, the religious authorities should try to get the ruling reversed.

This was in light of the furore raised by Islamic leaders, including state muftis and Muslim lawyers’ associations, which were left baffled by the judgment.

“There are matters under Syariah courts and Islamic law that have their limitations and can be overruled by the Court of Appeal or other courts,

“Although I am not an expert in the matter, this involves the Federal Constitution (and the decision) needs to be reviewed as it carries great implications.”

Muhyiddin said this during a press conference after chairing a special emergency meeting with the National Security Council on the floods and mudslides in Cameron Highlands, Pahang.

He said the matter should be referred to the Attorney-General’s Chambers and Islamic religious departments.

Last week, the Court of Appeal struck down the state law in an unanimous decision delivered by a three-man bench chaired by judge Datuk Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus.

The judgment favoured three transgender persons who challenged Section 66 of the Syariah Criminal (Negri Sembilan) Enactment 1992.

Hishamudin said the provision was unconstitutional as it discriminated against Muslim men suffering from a medical condition called gender identity disorder.

He ruled that the section contravened the fundamental right to liberty, equality before the law, and freedom of movement and expression, as contained in the Federal Constitution.

In Kuala Lumpur, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom urged Negeri Sembilan’s Islamic Religious Department (Jain) to appeal against the ruling as it involved the state authority’s integrity as a body that safeguarded Muslims.

“It also reflects the state authority’s firmness in upholding the faith and curbing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activities among Muslims,” he said yesterday, adding it was crucial that Jain take the case to the Federal Court to determine the jurisdiction of a state’s religious authority.

“The ruling affects legal provisions in other states as well. Islamic teachings must be upheld by any possible means.”

Jamil Khir said the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) was ready to intervene in proceedings if Jain were to move forward with the appeal.

He said the provision forbidding Muslim men from imitating women or wearing women’s clothes was in place to curb the spread of LGBT activities that went against Islamic teachings and that all parties must remind themselves that, as stated in the Federal Constitution, Islam was the nation’s official religion.

Jamil criticised Sisters in Islam for filing a judicial review against the Selangor Fatwa Committee, Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) and the Selangor government over a fatwa labelling them religious deviants.

“Their attempt to drag the Islamic institutions to civil court is uncalled for,” he said, adding that in 2010, the High Court had rejected an application by ESQ Leadership Centre Sdn Bhd for a judicial review of a fatwa, ruling that civil courts did not have jurisdiction to hear such cases, which come under the Syariah court’s purview.


The fact is that Federation of Malaysia is a country which practice Constitutional Monarchy democratic system. It means that the the democracy falls back on the Federal Constitution, which requires Royal Assent in some matters.

Especially in matters pertaining to Islam and Malay Culture, in nine of the states where there is Malay Ruler. HRHs act as the Constitutional Head for such matters, based on the corresponding State Constitution.

The fundamental liberty system in Malaysia is not and never had been a total democracy. Like it or not, there some limitations of ‘democracy’, which also include the freedom to voice opinion.

The Federal Constitution exist to protect the interest of the community first, above the pleasure of individuals. It exist with the spirit of righteousness.

An example is a man who impose himself on a retarded woman. The woman may not be in the state of mind to stop the man from imposing himself on her. In fact, she might not even be able to report of such hedious act of violation of will.

Let us take a bet that there would be possibility in his defence, the man would cite it is his ‘democratic right’ to impose himself on her.

The Penal Code exist to limit such social deviant from their sinister interpretation of ‘democratic right’ onto others, especially those who are unable to fend for themselves. It is the society which defines that this individual’s act is hedious and criminal.

Same goes to the ‘age of consent’. Can ‘democratic rights’ be an excuse, for sexual relations below the age of consent?

Marina’s statement should be seen as outrageous, if not deemed to be extreme. It is the escalation and expansion of such liberal talks that would eventually morph the situation and mirror interpretation into extremism.

Challenging and confusing the people especially the majority who upholds the conservatism against the principles and values of Islam and the process and administration of Islam and Syariah Law in Malaysia is bordering to extremism.

It is no mystery such continuous attempts by different parties on different angles would simply draw out the Jihad extremists either in reciprocity or reactionary.

The tolerance and accommodation of the Malay-Muslim majority should not be abused and put towards the extreme test. This nation was born from the Social Contract which HRHs compromised for the equal rights of people once deemed ‘Subjects of HRHs’.

Constitutionally and by convention, that has its limitations from the absolute freedom of some minority which to dream for. By no means, moderate Muslims are to be defined for accepting such obscure ideology of ‘free-for-all-anything-goes’ concept.

Published in: on November 10, 2014 at 14:45  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. When loose cannon devianist speaks,you can only close her other mouth.

  2. Early in the morning I read about what Marina Mahathir said I feel nausea, wanting to vomit, went to the toilet. And I deleted some phrases I wrote just now out of respect for BD.

    And it’s not seditious expressing my dislike for her, is it? Surely I have the right to do so, within bounds, and I have deleted those words that might have crossed the line. I strongly dislike her for her views which to me are a lot not in line with the Constitution of the country.

    What theocratic dictatorship is she talking about? What not democratic is she implying? Does she not realize that Article 3 states, in very clear and definitive terms, that “Islam is the religion of the Federation”, no other religion is mentioned, and that written almost at the very top of the Constitution shows the extreme importance of Islam in this country, that it has, in the words of one former Appeal Court Judge (Datuk Mohd Noor?), has priority over other religions?

    And that there are other laws enacted by Parliament pursuant to that Article of the Constitution. That there are properly constituted bodies and authorities to administer the practice of and promote the interest of Islam in this country.

    Doesn’t it occur to her that the fundamental liberties stated in the Constitution have limits and are qualified by or subject to the other Articles of the Constitution? Isn’t it not stupid to think that freedom is absolute and anybody can do anything in this country? What the hell then are the laws under the Penal Code and the various enactments for.

  3. I agree with the opinion that Marina Mahathir just wants attention, has been attention seeking.

    Her close friend, Rosmah, became a PM’s wife, always in the news. Another close friend, Shahrizat, was a Minister, is the Wanita UMNO Chief, always in the news. Marina was just a Hotel Manager’s wife, divorced, and now a photographer’s wife. She must find something to get herself in the news.

    Nothing personal in this opinion. they are based on facts.

  4. Court of Appeal’s decision has wide implications, says former Chief Justice Tun Abdul Hamid. The grounds of judgement given by the court put syariah enactments at risk of being declared unconstitutional.

    Yet the Malay Mail Online said just now

    “NOVEMBER 13 ― Tear down the mountains, yell, scream, and shout. You can say what you want ― they are not walking out. The recent decision of the three-man panel led by Justice Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus together with Justices Aziah Ali and Lim …”

    That judgment must be appealed and good that it is being appealed to the Federal Court. And hope the Registrar of Courts (the one who allocates judges for the sitting?) will take into account the beliefs and views of the Judges to be placed for the final appeal.

    True, Judges will decide on the facts and arguments put before them. But surely when decoding they also apply their discretion. That’s what they are paid for – to exercise this discretion.

    Much has been said of the Kalimah Allah decision being made by a practicing Christian. There should not be any qualms for all on the bench on Muslim issues to be Muslims.

    The Chief justice has said when attending a law seminar in Kota Bharu some time back that the public may criticize court judgments after they are made. Let’s now do so on the shocking judgment of the COA said above.

  5. “Justice Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus also held, amongst others, that the Federal Constitution existed to protect the minority against the tyranny of the majority.” – MMOL

    If he said those, I’m not sure if it’s apt. Especially by a Judge. There are Syariah laws and Syariah courts in the country. They cannot be dismissed just like that.

    What then are the purposes of having such Courts if they are deemed as possibly representing “the tyranny of the majority”?

    And what is tyranny anyway? Yes, those 3 Muslim men may have a mental disorder, whatever the term they use among psychiatrists. But surely they can be treated by the Psychiatrists. Anything biological can be treated. Medically and psychotherapy, etc. How effective is a different matter – they haven’t found a cure even for the common cold yet, damn it. Only relief, not cure as of now.

    So, why talk about “the tyranny of the majority” when the very few minority having that mental problem can be treated by the psychiatrists.

  6. Of course the Malay Mail and others would exploit the COA decision to the maximum. Not necessarily because they are or they love the cross dressers. But just to embarrass the Government.

    And the opinion piece says “By virtue of this decision, all laws criminalising cross-dressers at all States have now become null and void.” Nonsense. No such thing. Anything null and void must be only after being declared by a court with the competent authority.

    And there’s the highest Court of Appeal in the country – the Federal Court. And once an appeal is announced, especially when filed, the decision on the subject is not final.

    That’s the kind of irresponsible Oppo Hippos we have in the country. Shooting from the hips, making wild and exaggerated claims, yet many are taken up, excited, wet at certain places. We must counter all the nonsensical claims they put out, shame them and let the public not believe them.

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