Damian S. L. Yeo & L. C. Goh (DSLY)
No. 2007, Lorong Sidang Omar, off Jalan Penghulu Abbas, Bukit Baru, Hang Tuah Jaya, 75100 Melaka

Tel : 06-2347011
& 06-2347012
Fax: 06-2347022


Thursday, May 31, 2007

Aftermath of Lina Joy

Uncle Kit gave an excellent piece regarding post Lina Joy and I quote what he says,

"It casts a larger shadow over the national horizon with the country entering the second half-century of nationhood, with increasing doubts among Malaysians about the meaning, permanence, sustainability and viability of constitutional guarantees, civil liberties and fundamental rights.

This is because the Lina Joy case has shattered confidence in the constitutional guarantees on freedom of religion, the Constitution as the supreme law of the land and above all, the sacred Merdeka “Social Contract” underlying the Constitution that Malaysia is a secular nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic state.

Malaysians alarmed at the abandonment of the “Social Contract” principles are fully justified in their concerns, especially when one compares as to what would have happened to a Lina Joy case in the first quarter-century of the nation’s history as compared to today when the nation stands on its 50th year of nationhood!"

This is indeed true, is Malaysia abandoning the Social Contract that exist in the last 50 years for the sake of appeasing to some fanatical work. If the Constitution is supreme than what is the fuss of the whole saga. So they said, a challenge to the Islamic faith. But what Lina did was not about challenging the Islamic faith but basically wanting to just change her religion because she now believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and that is her conviction and nothing else. For example, I love Jesus Christ but that doesn't mean I'm challenging the Islamic faith. The religion of Islam is still the official religion of the Federation of Malaysia said Article 3 of the Constitution. All of us knows that and everybody has the right to profess his or her belief.

As she says through her lawyer after the decision was pronounced and I quote “I am disappointed that the Federal Court is not able to vindicate a simple but important fundamental right that exists in all persons; namely, the right to believe in the religion of one's choice and equally important, the right to marry a person of one's choice and to raise a family in the Malaysia context. The Federal Court has not only denied me that right but to all Malaysians who value fundamental freedoms...”

My heart and my cry goes out with her.

Secondly, I wonder when the Highest Court of this land states that she goes to the Syariah Court, I'm a little bit confuse. If that is the right way wouldn't it be more difficult for her to get an apostasy order. There are two reasons I see the impossibility (i) she is no longer a Muslim as she has proclaimed in a statutory declaration that she has converted to Christianity and as such her avenue is to the Civil Courts to force the NRD to delete the word Islam in her IC. Of course this argument does not sink in but what about (ii) will she really get an apostasy order by the syariah court at the first place. I predict, she may not get an order after all, and that she will first have to be counselled or in a more appropriate word 'rehabilitated'. Put in a god forsaken place like an open jail and be rehabilitated for at least 100 days. And if she does not cooperate a further 20, 40 or 100 days. That in itself will infringe her liberty as an ordinary free person. What about the freedom of conscience and thoughts, the freedom of believing in a God she is convicted of. Is this fair? Will it be fair to her?

Enough is enough!

Thirdly, since the Highest Court has decide there are two avenue, though impossible but why not a try since she has already go to the Federal Court. First, an application to the Federal Court for a review. This will be a humongous task for their lawyers even though the Federal Court has the power to review it's own decision, but certain condition has to be satisfied before leave is granted. Such as a new area of law need to be discussed.

I was surprised since in the Court of Appeal, there is a strong dissenting judgement by Gopal Sri Ram, why not a full panel of five federal judges in the Federal Court. This is not a case of breach of contract or a family matter but it involve many questions of constitutional importance and human rights issues such as the administrative right of the NRD to do what it likes and issues of grave concern regarding religion and the law, freedom of religion, human rights etc.

And Secondly, the role of MPs in Parliament and/or State Assemblymen in various state assemblies to do a turn about in the law making process. There should be some laws amended or make to have a safety net in the administrative system in the government. This is important to curb further abuse from administrative function. In Lina Joy, it involve the National Registration Department. So the role of Parliament in this area is needed to give new light to Administrative laws.

But will that be achieved? I doubt it will

No comments: