Saturday 26 May 2007

Federal Court Will Rule Whether Lina Joy (former Azlina Jailani) can become a LEGAL CHRISTIAN in Malaysia


Read here in Malaysiakini and Here

  • "....(Muslim) groups fear that with Lina Joy leaving, it will open the so-called 'floodgates' of people wanting to renounce Islam. Let her be who she wants to be. It is between her and God. That is the spirit of the constitution, to have choices for our beliefs."
    - Ivy Josiah, Women Aid Organisation.

  • "....The country has to be ruled by the constitution but we seem to have lost it. In the growing prominence of the syariah court, things seem to have gone into a grey area with competing claims to jurisdiction. Our civil courts seem to think that conversion is a religious matter and not constitutional, which I think is wrong."
    -Benjamin Dawson (Lawyer)

  • ".... the decision will determine if she can convert out of Islam without going to the syariah court. Our position has always been that she should be allowed to do so, in respect to the constitution."
    - Ragunath Kesavan, Vice President of Malaysian Bar Council

  • "...If (s)he renounces Islam, then (s)he is not a Malay. Why not? People would still be Malay, but OFFICIALLY, (s)he would not be a Malay. Being a Malay in this country has certain privileges, so he wouldn’t enjoy those privileges. If you are prepared to give up Islam, you must also be prepared to give up (the rights associated with) the definition of a Malay. You must say that ‘I am not a Malay.’”
    - Tun Dr. Mahathir, President, Malaysian Muslim Welfare Organisation (Perkim)/former Prime Minister of Malaysia

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
    -courtesy of malaysiakini

    Read here full article by V. Anbalagan for more

    Read here a 1979 article on the view of the late Lord President of the Federal Court, Tun Suffian:

    "...(Tun Suffian) warned that the introduction of Islamic laws in their entirety would mean that "all non-Muslim and all women judges who have rendered distinguished public service could be dismissed, the word of a Muslim would always be preferred to that of a non-Muslim, non-Muslim lawyers would be disqualified; and outside the legal system, Muslim women would be denied education and the opportunity to secure economic independence." Read here for more

    Read below related articles:

  • Article "Recent Cases Showed Why Appointments and Promotions of Malaysian Judges Must Be Reviewed and Questioned "

  • Article "MALAYSIA 's Fumbling Modernity" by Dr Farish Noor

  • Article "Malaysia's Untenable Future: The Clash between Modernity and Religious Supremacy"
  • The Federal Court would deliver judgment on Lina JOY'S case on Wednesday (30th May).

    Her appeal is significant for one important reason. The Federal Court, as the apex court, is expected to decide on, among others:

    1. the religious freedom of Malaysians under Article 11 of the Federal Constitution and

    2. the position of the civil court and Syariah Court following amendments to Article 121(1A) of the Constitution in 1988.
    The outcome of the case is also expected to decide the constitutional points raised in at least two other matters pending in the lower courts.

  • One is the case of S. Kaliammal, a 32-year-old Hindu widow, who is challenging the conversion of her husband, M. Moorthy, to Islam. Moorthy, a member of the first Malaysian team to scale Mount Everest in 1997, died in December 2005. The Court of Appeal has fixed to hear the matter on Dec 12.

  • The other case involves R. Subashini, 28, a secretary who is fighting to stop her estranged Muslim husband from pursuing his claims in the Syariah Court.Muhammad Shafi Saravanan Abdullah, 31, wants to dissolve their civil marriage in the Syariah Court, convert the children to Islam and obtain custody of them. That case will be heard in the Federal Court.

    Background of Azlina Jailani/Lina Joy's Case

    Azlina Jailani, a muslim, embraced Christianity sometime in the 1990s. She changed her name to Lina Joy after she outed herself as a Christian.

    Between 1998-2000, she applied to the courts to have the word "Islam" deleted from her identity card.

    The National Registration Department REFUSED to change her religion, stating that it had NO jurisdiction to do so without clearance from the Kuala Lumpur SYARIAH Court or other Islamic religious authorities.

    In April 23, 2001, Lina Joy's case went to the High Court to seek protection of her rights as a citizen of this country under the Federal Constitution.
  • Instead, the High Court washed its hands and dismissed her application. Lina Joy was asked to face the religious Syariah Court to obtain a decision on her application to remove the word "Islam" from her identity card.

    Worst still for Lina Joy, the High Court, a secular court to boot, ruled that as a Malay and Muslim, she could NOT convert her religion.

    Lina Joy then went to the Court Appeal. Again on Sept 19, 2005, Malaysia's secular Court of Appeal, in a 2-1 majority decision, rejected her appeal. Of the three judges who ruled in the Court Appeal, two are Muslim judges (Judges Datuk Arifin Zakaria and Datuk Abdul Aziz Mohamad, now elevated to the Federal Court) and the other is a non-Muslim judge (Datuk Gopal Sri Ram).

    The two Muslim judges sitting in the Court of Appeal rejected Lina Joy's appeal and upheld the High Court's decision to ask Lina Joy to face the Islamic Syariah Court if she wants to remove the word "Islam" on her identity card despite the fact she is now, in every sense of the word, and for all intent and purpose, no more a Muslim in practice. She just wants to be legally recognised as a Christian and this is to be reflected in her identity card.

    The non-Muslim judge (Datuk Gopal Sri Ram) in the Court of Appeal gave a dissenting opinion, held that Joy’s case was purely an ADMINISTRATIVE LAW issue, adding there was NO provision in LAW for the National Registration Department to require a Syariah Court order to remove the word "Islam" from her identity card.

    The makeup of sitting judges of the Court Appeal with two Muslim judges and one non-Muslim judge did not help at all Lina Joy's case.

    (Read here the composition and list of names of judges in Malaysia's courts as of 1st January 2007)

    (Read here earlier posting "Report on the Bar Council-Sponsored Debate on Appointments and Promotion of Malaysian Judges" )

    Then in April 14, 2006, Lina Joy, still wanting to be a Christian legally, appealed to the Federal Court.

    Between June and July 2006, Federal Court heard submissions from all parties for four days. Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Richard Malanjum and Federal Court judge Datuk Datuk Alauddin Sheriff heard her appeal.

    On May 30, 2007, the whole country, in particular the non Muslim citizens will hear the Federal Court's judgment whether Lina Joy has the protection of the Federal Constitution.

    Or that the Syariah Court, a religious body, essentially a creature of the Federal Constitution, by virtue of the decision of the secular court, will have an over-riding power to decide the fate of Muslim's citizens' rights to abandon Islam legally.

    The decision of the Federal Court, the majority of the judges are Muslims, anyway, will send a signal whether THIS judiciary is able to take the hard decision and address the rights of citizens of this country or that personal/religious leanings of the judges (especially the Muslim judges in the Federal Court) will decide the fate of citizens of this country on religious issues.

    The lower courts ie the High Court and the Court of Appeal took the easy way out and pushed the buck up to the Federal Court.

    Lina Joy is now 43 years old, a former sales representative, and has been unemployed for the past year. She is still single.

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