(May 14): DAP today questioned the commitment of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his ministers to the fundamental liberties enshrined in the Federal Constitution following the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council's (MAIWP) contention that all Islamic law are above the Federal Constitution.
Its parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang asked how this could happen under Najib's leadership, especially as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom and Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail both sit on the religious council.
"The questions about the prime minister and the Cabinet’s commitment to the fundamental constitutional principle that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land must be asked and answered.
“Can Najib explain why it is happening under his watch as prime minister?" asked Lim, adding that such a development was unheard of under the previous five prime ministers who administered the country from 1957 until 2009.
MAIWP, which opposes non-Muslim lawyers practising shariah law, today said all Islamic enactments were excluded from fundamental liberties enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
The council's lawyer Mohd Hanif Khatri Abdulla said this was a new point of monumental constitutional importance to be raised in Victoria Jayaseele Martin's appeal in the Federal Court, where the lawyer was seeking the right to practise Islamic law in the shariah court.
"The court has granted an adjournment so that we can make preparation to argue this case from this perspective," said Hanif.
MAIWP's position means that it does not hold the Federal Constitution as being secular in nature.
Lim questioned if Jamil Khir had given his approval to MAIWP's stand and if it was also the stand of Najib and the Cabinet.
"The prime minister and the Cabinet cannot plead ignorance to such a 'monumental' attack on the Constitution, especially as it is presented as made with the approval of a minister.”
The Gelang Patah MP also asked if Gani agreed to the legal argument put forth to the Federal Court by MAIWP or if he had been kept in the dark over the matter until today. – The Malaysian Insider