Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It is a Selangor State Enactment that is being used against Asri - What happened to freedom of expression, opinions, etc ?

What is a religious lecture?

Is it when one refers to the Quaran in one's speech/lecture?

I am shocked at the lack of freedom of expression demonstrated by the charging of the former Mufti of Perlis for giving a 'religious lecture' - and it is happened in Selangor, a Pakatan Rakyat ruled state.

From what I see, the speech/lecture was given in a private place - not a surau...not a mosque. Why can't people be allowed to freely give a religious lecture even in a surau/mosque or some other venue? Why do they need 'certification'?

The necessity of this 'certification' by the State Religious authority is nothing but a means of control - a means to even control Islamic teaching by the State - and this, I believe, is wrong and definitely against the freedom of expression and opinion.

Did he make anti-Pakatan Rakyat comments in his speech/lecture - was that why the Selangor government religious body go after this former Mufti of Perlis (BN appointed him then, I believe)

The BN has had too much power in determining the sermons, speeches and lectures that are being made in mosques/suraus/etc - they have even taken the role of chosing and appointing muftis, etc.. This is something that must change. The local Muslim community should have the right to choose their own Muftis, and certainly the people who can give lectures and/or 'religious lectures' - not the State...not the State body.

Shame on you Pakatan Rakyat - for this is happening in Selangor - and the offence is one that is found in the Selangor Islamic Religious Administration Enactment 2003. [Remember that State Enactments can so easily be amended, i.e. by simple majority - and why have the Pakatan Rakyat majority not amended this law yet..]

On the Allah issue, again it was in a Selangor State Enactment - and again there was no move to amend that law...

Hello, it has been almost 2 years since you have been in power in Selangor...

I worry whether when the Pakatan Rakyat comes into power of the Federal Government they will repeal the ISA and other Detention Without Trial Laws, the Official Secrets Act, etc - or they will just maintain it and use it against their 'enemies'.

Shame on you Pakatan Rakyat - Freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of opinion, freedom of religion...

He is charged because he did not have a 'certification of authority' - not for the contents of his speech.

Former Perlis Mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin pleaded not guilty in the Gombak Timur Syariah Court today to a charge of conducting religious lecture without a certification of authority. Mohd Asri, 38, is charged with committing the offence at a house at No 2 Lorong 2 C, Taman Sri Ukay, Ampang, between 8.10pm and 9.45pm on Nov 1.

The charge, under Section 119(1) of the Selangor Islamic Religious Administration Enactment 2003, carries a jail sentence of up to two years or a fine of up to RM3,000 or both upon conviction.

The prosecution is carried out by Selangor Syarie Chief Prosecutor Abdul Shukor Abdul Hamid who applied that the case be transferred to the Syariah High Court on grounds that the facts of the case necessitated a more accurate application and interpretation of the law apart from the wide media coverage it received and the fact that the accused was an influential person.

"We have filed an affidavit on Nov 12 to apply for the transfer of the case," he said.- New Straits Times, 18/11/2009,
Dr Asri pleads not guilty

Maybe Khalid and the Pakatan Rakyat government is going to turn around and say that it not us that did it - but the BN-controlled State religious authority. Would anyone believe that? Pakatan Rakyat, especially the Selangor MB and government must come out and clarify their position ...and certainly table an amendment that will remove any such need for 'certification of authority' before one is allowed to give a 'religious lecture'

What is religious? What is political? What is economics? What is social? I believe for Islam, just like for Christianity, you cannot separate religion from the other aspects of life.

I also hope that the BN-governed states will also do the necessary amendments is that State Religious Enactments...and remove this element of 'political' control of the freedom of expression/opinion....

It would be good if we could hear from Anwar, Kit Siang and Hadi on this matter... It may involve a BN personality but this is an issue of principle, and it would be good to hear the stand of PAS, DAP and the Pakatan Rakyat...

To be fair, PAS MP for Shah Alam has come out calling for review of these laws...but alas, the MB and the Selangor State Government, or Pakatan Rakyat or DAP, PAS and PKR have not come out...

PAS MP Khalid Samad today called on the Selangor government to conduct a review and study of the state’s Islamic laws, with specific references to the issue of permits or “tauliah” which is currently a requirement in order for an individual to conduct a sermon or religious lectures.

At a press conference this morning, he said recent events involving former Perlis mufti Dr. Mohd. Asri Zainul Ariffin’s arrest and his own case had prompted him to issue this statement to his Pakatan Rakyat (PR) colleagues.

“Pakatan Rakyat has a responsibility to change their administration, so that it won’t be like the past Umno state government, which had a totally different take on Islam... which was repressive,” said Khalid.

Khalid, who is also Shah Alam MP, said that the basis of issuing permits to religious figures so they can conduct sermons “reeked of politics” and that the enactment needs to be reviewed and reassesed, as Pakatan Rakyat should be pushing for reform and change.

“I conducted a sermon at the Section 19 Al-Huda Mosque, and the next thing I know I received a letter from Selangor police stating that I did not have a permit to do so,which was strange because I had previously obtained a temporary permit from Jais,” said Khalid.

According to him, Jais had interviewed him last year and he had received the temporary tauliah or permit on July 10, 2008 to teach and preach.

“Then I get a letter from the police stating that my permit cannot be changed to a permanent one and my current one had to be cancelled as well because I supposedly had a criminal record.”

The Shah Alam MP was puzzled as to the criminal record as he was not aware he had one.

However, a check with Bukit Aman revealed that the office did not issue him a letter regarding the criminal offence which prevented him from obtaining the official permit.

“When I asked them to provide details of my alleged offence, they refused by saying that I needed to go through Jais in order to obtain the information.

“Why should Jais enquire for me as it is my own “criminal record?” said Khalid who was perplexed as to why there was so much confusion and lack of transparency in the matter.

“There is a rumour that the SMS sent by the Jais high official instructing law enforcers to look into my case was also sent to the Shah Alam Umno division chief, and that he was also the one who had issued a complaint on my sermon,” said the PAS man, who alluded that Jais’ credibililty might be questionable as the existing enactments are politically motivated and serve Umno’s interests.

Khalid called on the Selangor government to study and redefine the current laws surrounding permits, and also the anti-beer laws as these laws are repressive and do not reflect the freedom that Pakatan Rakyat represents.

“What happened to Dr Asri should not have happened in a Pakatan Rakyat-led state. Enactments that were approved by the previous BN government were based on repressive philosophies and we cannot be tied down to that system of governance.”

He added that there was a strong possibility that Dr Asri’s arrest was politically motivated in falsely portraying Pakatan Rakyat Selangor as being repressive.

The former Perlis Mufti was recently arrested for conducting a sermon without a permit.

Jais on their part has strongly denied any political motivations in the maverick religious scholar’s arrest.

Khalid has also instructed his lawyers to issue a notice to the Bukit Aman police to provide details on his case. If they do not respond, he will take the matter to court.

“People voted for us because they wanted to see change. What’s the point of us being here if we continue to run things the way they (BN) did?” - Malaysian Insider, 3/11/2009, Khalid Samad calls for review of Selangor’s Islamic laws


dILA said...

i think you must understand the selangor PR and MB difficulty in dealing in this highly sensitive issue. islam jurusdiction falled under sultan so it going to be very sticky situation and BN will used all his might to turn this to paint PR as anti sultan/malay/islam. moreover, jais itself is independent body lead by umno man, it only worst that the highly controversal hassan ali is the islamic exco who seem to sing different tune that what PR stand for.

Bro G said...

no dilla...the writer don't understand and knows what true situation, he or she missed the train, i

Charles Hector said...

Bro G,

It would be good if you could elaborate what the true situation is?

Many have blindly come in defence of the failings of Pakatan Rakyat. All kinds of reasons have been advanced.

Worry about the fact that any attempt to amend laws will be 'sensitive'. It may be used by the BN to further erode Mala/Muslim support. It is the Sultan's call, and the PR government have no power.

All these arguements do not hold water. State enactments are passed by the State Legislative Assembly, and this power is with the State Legislative Assembly not the Sultan.

The power of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agung's and the Sultan's power to not give his consent to a Bill have all been stripped away during the reign of Mahathir. Now the King and/or the Sultan have a certain time to sign, and after that time it shall be deemed to have been approved.

PR's arguement that they will bring about changes after the manage to take over the Federal Government is baseless when it comes to changes in State Laws. They have the majority, and only a simple majority is required for any amendment/repeal of a State enactment.

Procrastination by reason of not wanting to lose support of the rakyat is in actual fact causing the PR to lose more and more support daily. People feel that they have been betrayed - they see PR as just being another BN.

PR strategically tries to focus attention on the BN failings, and by-elections...BUT they are not doing much to effect real visible changes in the States that they now control.

Whatever the PR do, the BN will try to use it to gain support for itself...and, as such the PR must be strong and reform now...