Tawfik Ismail cites Perak ruler in bid to stop Hadi’s bill

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PETALING JAYA: Former MP Tawfik Ismail, who wants to stop the tabling of a motion to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 in the Dewan Rakyat by Marang MP Abdul Hadi Awang, has filed additional grounds to support his case.

Tawfik, who now also relies on a manuscript produced for the Perak ruler Sultan Nazrin Shah’s birthday celebration, said any bill related to Islam must first get consent from the Conference of Rulers before being tabled in parliament.

In the additional affidavit filed last week, he said the Perak ruler had produced a manuscript titled “Wasiat Raja-Raja Melayu” which was included in the official celebration programme.

He said a message had been written as desired by the Malay rulers for the purpose of maintaining historical continuity, Malay political power and sovereignty entrusted on them and consensually accepted by the people through their legal representatives.

Tawfik said it was for this reason the Federal Constitution carried specific clauses, namely Article 3 (Islam as the religion of the federation), Article 11 (freedom of religion), Article 12 (right to religious education), Article 152 (Bahasa Malaysia as the national language), Article 153 (special privileges accorded to Malays and natives of Sabah and Sarawak) and Article 181 (maintenance of Rulers’ sovereignty).

He said these articles also required the approval of the various Malay ruler’s councils before any parliamentary amendments could be effected.

“As confirmed by the Sultan of Perak, the freedom given to the Dewan Rakyat under Article 61 is not an unfettered discretion and Hadi’s motion is subject to the consent of the Conference of Rulers,” he said.

Tawfik said any law related to Islam must be sanctioned by the conference before it could be debated and passed by the Dewan Rakyat.

As such, he said, the striking out application filed by the Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia and its secretary Roosme Hamzah was unconstitutional and a breach of their oath of office to uphold the supreme law of the land.

He said the application to annul his suit was frivolous and an abuse of court process as it affected the rights of Muslims in their respective states who were subjects of the Malay rulers.

Tawfik urged the court to dismiss their application to strike out his suit.

The High Court has fixed Jan 11 to hear the application before Justice Kamaludin Md Said.

Pandikar and Roosme contended the suit must be annulled as it encroached into parliamentary privileges under Articles 62 and 63 of the Federal Constitution.

Article 62 (1) states that subject to the provisions of the constitution and of federal law, each House of Parliament (Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara) shall regulate its own procedure.

Article 63 states that the validity of any proceedings in either House of Parliament, or any committee, shall not be questioned in any court.

Tawfik is also relying on a speech made by the Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar at the Tun Hussein Onn University convocation ceremony on Oct 14 that Islamic matters came under the jurisdiction of the states.

Tawfik, who is a son of the late Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s deputy prime minister from 1970 to 1973, filed an originating summons in March, naming Pandikar and Roosme as defendants.

Tawfik, formerly the Sungai Benut MP, claimed that Hadi’s motion did not conform with the requirements of the Standing Orders of the Dewan Rakyat.

He claimed the motion violated Article 8 of the Federal Constitution, which guarantees equality for all Malaysians.