A day constitutional supremacy is protected

Today is a day in history that will always be remembered: when the supremacy of our constitution is protected and reaffirmed by the highest court, the Federal Court. Today is also the day that our Chief Justice puts herself in the annals of our legal history, in the same mould as John Marshall did in defending the powers of the United States Supreme Court to strike down unconstitutional laws by way of judicial review. ( Marbury vs Madison)

Since political Islam reared its head in the 1980s, the easiest way to gain support was to say that our legal system was flawed as being un-Islamic.These politicians, when entering Parliament, would swear in their oath of office by declaring their allegiance to defend the Constitution. But when campaigning for votes, they pander to the unsuspecting public that they will introduce a legal system that is fully Shariah, as they see it. Their approach works well.

That’s when they started passing criminal laws at the state Assemblies under their control laws that they considered to be Islamic, even though such laws, in most cases, were already in place in the Penal Code. In Kelantan, in 1993, they passed what was described as “ Hudud law.” where punishment for theft and robbery is the amputation of limbs.

Islam is secured

I challenged the state Hudud law as unconstitutional as the power to legislate criminal laws is vested with Parliament. Leave was obtained for the issue to be decided by the Federal Court, but political pressure was brought to bear on me to withdraw the case. I was told it might cause the defeat of BN

Congratulations, Nik Elin for your courage to stand by the laws of the land. You have succeeded where I could not do it 30 years ago.

As for PAS Bersatu and the Malay-based parties, Islam is already secure. Our system already provides enough avenues for Islamic laws to be practised. Shariah courts already have enough powers to do justice. There is no need to play politics with religion. Serve the Muslims well; take care of their present hardships; make the current system more efficient, etc

There is no need to violate and infringe on our Constitution and destroy the framework our leaders had worked hard to establish in 1957/63 by overzealous demands for an Islamic system. Work with what we have, and accept we are a democracy ( some semblance of it)

Again, thank you to Tengku Naimum and the other judges for doing what is right.

The author, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim is a practising lawyer and a former minister. This article was originally published on his X account.