Home 2007: 4 Full Bench should have sat

Full Bench should have sat

Follow us on our Malay and English WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram, Tiktok and Youtube channels.

The decision by the Federal Court in the Lina Joy appeal by a 2-1 majority cannot be authoritative enough for the decision to be a strong precedent from the highest court in the country.  In the public interest, the panel should have been a larger one.  In fact, in view of the significance of the issue involved, the full bench of the Federal Court should have sat to determine it, says Karpal Singh.

Even in ordinary criminal appeals nowadays, a five-member panel presides.  The Federal Court decision has very far reaching implications and consequences.

In my view, the majority judgment of the Federal Court is far from right.  Determining whether a person has renounced Islam is within the realm of Islamic law and the right authority in the Sharia Court militates against the provisions of Article 11 of the Federal Constitution which provides for freedom of religion in the country.  The framers of the Federal Constitution did not have in mind any obstacle in the form of a prerequisite to resort to the Sharia Court before renouncing Islam.  In fact, there are several states in the country which do not have the rules and regulations to renounce in a Sharia Court. 

Detaining Muslims who want to renounce Islam in rehabilitation centres for long periods is a unreasonable obstacle in the way of freedom of religion.  In the case of other religions in the country, there is freedom is choose one’s religion without any obstacle being placed in one’s way.  It should be likewise in the case of Islam.  I call upon the Government to repeal Article 121 (1A) of the Federal Constitution which came into force in 1988.  Before then, there was no controversy of freedom of religion in the country. I also call upon the Federal Court’s decision to be reviewed by a 9-member bench.

Karpal Singh is an opposition Member of Parliament

READ MORE:  NO to death threats: In solidarity with Nik Elin - Women's groups

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
Support our work by making a donation. Tap to download the QR code below and scan this QR code from Gallery by using TnG e-wallet or most banking apps:
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x