G25 want to meet Malay rulers to review Islamic laws

The group of retired Malay civil servants of G25 against religious extremism plans to seek an audience with the Malay rulers to petition for a committee that will review the application of Islam in Malaysian law, its spokesperson Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin said at a talk today.

She said the G25 hoped that the sultans, as heads of Islam in their respective states, would form the committee to implement a process of consultation, comprising various stakeholders, to assess current laws and ensure that they comply with the Federal Constitution.

“We want to see all the rulers, the governors and all the chief ministers to sell this idea.

“What G25 is calling for is for the government to establish a consultative process, specifically to establish a consultative committee comprising shariah law experts, constitutional law experts and others who are adversely affected by Islamic laws.

“They will look at the shariah criminal enactment and review them and make recommendations on those that are in clear violation of the Federal Constitution,” Noor Farida said when giving a public lecture at Sunway University in Petaling Jaya this afternoon.

She said the group’s decision to meet with the Malay rulers was “Plan B”, after not making further headway in meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, whom she said was “currently occupied with other matters”.

Noor Farida and other G25 representatives had met one of Najib’s officers earlier this year to set up a meeting with the prime minister, but no meeting has taken place to date. The former ambassador added that they also had a “Plan C”, which involved meeting federal lawmakers from the ruling coalition and the Opposition to set up a parliamentary caucus on Shariah laws and Islam.

The G25, which in December last year wrote an open letter expressing concern over Islamic extremism and that some religious laws were violating the Constitution, has been advocating moderation and rule of law in the application of Islam in a parliamentary democracy.

Malaysia’s identity as a Muslim nation has long been the subject of debate, with legal experts saying the Federal Constitution by nature calls for a secular country with Islam as the religion for the federation for ceremonial purposes, while those in favour of giving it a greater position argue that its status as the official religion places it above other laws. – August 14, 2015

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