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Parliamentary Roundtable on  Thursday (Jan 5)  on what Parliament can do to rectify injustices from the 1988 Constitutional Amendment to insert Article 121(1A) that civil courts have no jurisdiction on any matter within the jurisdiction of the syariah courts


Media Statement ( 1)
by Lim Kit Siang  

Parliament, Saturday): When Parliament debated and amended the Federal Constitution on 18th  March 1988 to insert Article 121(1A) that civil courts have no jurisdiction on any matter within the jurisdiction of the syariah courts, it was  given only one day’s notice of the Bill  which was grossly inadequate for MPs and the nation to understand its far-reaching implications and repercussions. 

I was not in Parliament during the debate as together with six other DAP MPs – Karpal Singh, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw, Lim Guan Eng, Lau Dak Kee, the late P. Patto and the late V. David – we were detained in Kamunting Detention Centre under the infamous Internal Security Act under the notorious Operation Lalang.


I dare say however whether to the 142 Barisan Nasional MPs who voted for the 1988 Constitutional Amendment Bill or the 18 (including 17 DAP MPs) who voted against it, no Minister or MP wanted the new Article 121(1A) to create  injustices and adverse repercussions like:


(i)                 the grief and injustices to S. Kaliammal and her family following the death of her husband,   Everest mountaineer L/Kpl M. Moorthy, to find that she has no remedy in any court in the dispute as to whether Moorthy was a Hindu or a Muslim;


(ii)               injustices depriving non-Muslims of their parental rights in respect of guardianship, custody, upbringing and religious education of their children when one spouse converts to Islam; and


(iii)             the repeated stresses and tensions undermining national unity and inter-religious harmony from such cases, which are detrimental to the objective of creating a united and harmonious Bangsa Malaysia.


For this reason, I am convening a parliamentary roundtable in Parliament (Committee Room One) on Thursday, January 5, 2006 at 10.30  am on what Parliament could do to rectify the injustices emanating from  Article 121(1A), where non-Muslims have no remedy in any court where their rights have been adversely affected by syariah court decisions.


All organizations and individuals concerned about justice, national unity and inter-religious harmony are invited to the parliamentary roundtable. I will also invite the Minister to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.


Malaysia will be marking half-a-century of nationhood in 20 months’ time in August 2007 and its MPs, leaders and  citizens, regardless of  political affiliation and religious beliefs, must   demonstrate the Malaysian national spirit and maturity to deal with problems and injustices in our plural society of diverse races, religions, cultures and languages in a sober and rational manner, without resorting to emotionalism or  any other form of  irresponsible outburst.


If we are one big Malaysian family, injustice to one must be regarded as injustice to all other Malaysians.


Contact on the Parliamentary Roundtable on Article 121(1A) on Thursday  could be made to Lau Weng San 016-3231563 or Carmen 03-79578127.


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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