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PKR’s Zulkifli slams Gurdwara Council

PETALING JAYA, 4 June 2009: PKR parliamentarian Zulkifli Noordin has slammed the Malaysian Gurdwaras Council for its statement criticising the syariah courts.

“What people like (Malaysian Gurdwaras Council president) Jagir Singh need to do is to start learning to respect decisions of the Syariah Court, even if it is not in one’s favour,” said Zulkifli in a press statement yesterday.

He was responding to comments by Jagir yesterday about the ability of the Syariah Court to fairly hear cases involving non-Muslims.

The Sikh leader was referring to the case of Mohan Singh, who died of a heart attack on 25 May. Mohan’s remains have not been released to his family, as he is believed to have converted to Islam in 1992.

“We are of the view that a syariah court is not in a position to determine Mohan’s religion as most witnesses who can vouch for his professing of religion are non-Muslims, whose evidence the Syariah Court has no jurisdiction to hear,” Jagir said.

“Without their evidence, there cannot be a just decision,” he was quoted as saying.

Zulkifli said the Malaysian Gurdwaras Council statement was “highly baseless, unfounded, and purely contemptuous.”

“It shows utter disrespect for a court of competent jurisdiction, duly established by the Federal Constitution, and recognised as such by the Federal Court,” Zulkifli said.

“Please learn to respect the Federal Constitution,” Zulkifli added.

Zulkifli explained that syariah courts were empowered to hear evidence from non-Muslim witnesses.

The Kulim-Bandar Baru Member of Parliament (MP) cited the case of the late Nyonya Tahir, where there was dispute as to whether the deceased had died a Muslim. The Syariah Court later decided that Nyonya Tahir had died as a Buddhist, and should be buried as one.

“The matter was brought to the Syariah High Court of Negeri Sembilan, where the Buddhist family testified and gave evidence,” Zulkifli explained.

According to Zulkifli, the Syariah Court is the best place to determine whether Mohan Singh had died a Muslim.

“Where else on earth can one determine that, except in the Syariah Court, where the judges are very well-versed with the law, and the issue at hand?” Zulkifli said.

The MP stressed that the late Mohan had every right to profess and practise Islam as a religion of his choice. “It is not a crime to become a Muslim,” Zulkifli said.

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16 Responses to “PKR’s Zulkifli slams Gurdwara Council”

  1. Hantam Singh says:

    Bandar Kulim MP forgets who elected him to Parliment??

  2. Sivin Kit says:

    YB Zulklifli, I agree with you … “It is not a crime to become a Muslim,”

    On a broader perspective, I’m curious what would your response be if one were to say “It is not a crime to become a non-Muslim”?

  3. Steven Ong says:

    En Zulkifli, why is it not a crime to become a Muslim but a crime for a Muslim to become a Sikh? Is it because the Quran said so? What if the Guru Granth Sahib said so? Then would not Muslims have accepted an illegal convert into Islam’s circle? And by accepting him, are not the Muslims promoting treason, as dictated by Islam? So En Zulkifli, is it a fair rule for all? You chose to deny this, but in your heart, you know it’s not fair. En Zul, it’s time you walk in righteousness and uphold justice for all. Don’t be a hero for your own only. This is called ‘selfishness’. The whole world is pointing out the unjust laws of Islam, and yet you refuse to acknowledge the fact. Many have converted out of Islam, because to them these are the errors in Islam. They are speaking out, if you care to see, hear or read them.

  4. Curmudgeon, Subang Jaya says:

    “It is not a crime to become a Muslim,” En Zulkifli said. But, one may ask him, “Is it in his view a crime to cease to be a Muslim? Or perhaps, as some legal authorities have suggested, simply simply an irresponsible whim born of the delusion that such a choice is possible?” Perhaps YB Zulkifli will further clarify his position.

  5. bort says:

    Wherever you are in the world, a court order is done based on its hearing. It is fair and just and it is a law. You have right to challenge it in court but you have no right to condemn it outside as we humans live in rules, respect and integrity.

    It is unfair if you have accepted a religion when you are alive but when you died and can’t talk, you are forced either by your family or others as how to bury you. Dying is painful enough and the later your body is laid to rest the more suffering will be felt by your soul. Let what he had embraced in his life being respected as he last wish. After all it is you who need to be buried, not your family … so let your wish be heard and respected.

    And sincerely, please do not look at this and took as a political chances to shine or to debate …

    Also, I condemn those politicians who see this as his/her time to cite popularity quotes.

    From God he came, to God he returns. R.I.P.

  6. Jason says:

    Just hot air and lots of ambition, from this servant of the people. No court is infallible, people have a right to voice their lack of confidence. I’m an atheist and I refuse to subscribe to a non-secular justice system. I don’t understand why this need to claim the body of someone who doesn’t have any relations to you. Let the man be buried the way his family wishes. What would a Muslim family do if the Hindu temple provides photographs and a signed affidavit that their family member had converted to Hinduism ? Should that family then go to a Temple Tribunal, following the logic of Zulkifli this would be the best to determine the issue. Oh, and it’s also not a crime to be an atheist.

  7. Ken says:

    Yet another example of a tactless and arrogant reply from the same guy who had embarrassed the Pakatan group and all of us who voted him in with his rabid demonstrations at the forum on religious conversion in KL not too long ago.

    What politicians like you and other myopic-post-March 8 politicians need to really understand is the true meaning of justice for all Malaysians irrespective of racial and religious beliefs. Don’t be a demagogue who shouts from the front in order to satisfy his own insecurities yet end up betraying the same people he claims to represent.

    How much more can a person hide behind “He provoked me when he said bad things about my religion. So I can’t be held accountable for my actions or words!”

    My dear Bdr Kulim MP, where is your sense of self-discipline, patience and tolerance? Please practice the tenets of your religion which you so viciously profess to uphold, rather than choosing to display your short-sighted outbursts that prove everything except what you are trying to protect … or then again … (?)

  8. Kamal says:

    YB Zulkifli needs to realize, people are not saying being a Muslim is a crime, but what they are saying is that where there is contention between Muslim and Non-Muslim interests, the Malaysian syariah system has yet to prove itself. The point that people remain suspicious means if the syariah court wants itself to be taken seriously, it needs to look into these grouses and address them fairly. How do you this? The process should be open to government, judiciary, Parliament as well as civil society participation.

    We must remember, to many the perception is that the syariah court works only for Muslim/Malay interests. Now, as it would be in any multicultural society, we find there are overlapping interests. For the interest of society at large, perhaps we should let the civil court decide in fairness where all can be represented. The vigour and excitement in wanting to uphold the religious identity of the deceased should not cloud us from the human nature of the problem; let us not forget there are the feelings and beliefs of the living which we too must respect and these are of his mother, father, sisters, brothers and if he had a family of his own, his wife and children (not to exclude his extended family).

    But you ask, “Where else on earth can one determine that, except in the Syaraih Court, where the judges are very well-versed with the law, and the issue at hand?” The answer of course is in the civil law – where these Islamic expertise can be sought and where the court is seen as neutral space for all interests parties to meet. But if you ask me, the final answer should rests with his immediate family.

    Let us not paint a picture of Islam that is divisive and cruel. A family simply wants to bury one of their own according to the rites of the religion that he was born and raised in and what according to them was the religion he practiced up to the time of his death. Let the Syariah Court show magnanimity and work instead to heal the fractures in society that this case may have caused. He died on the 25th, and today is already the 5th, in Islam holding a body from burial unnecessarily is cruel isn’t it? But that is just my personal opinion.

  9. shaff says:

    Islam [in Malaysia] — you’re free to join but you can never leave, even if you’re dead.

  10. Dhanen Mahes says:

    Zulkifli, chillax dude. So the gurdwara guy made a mistake. It happens. You don’t have to get all defensive about the syariah courts mate.

  11. Orang Kulim says:

    PKR is bound to lose Kulim if this champion sits for re-election.

  12. someone says:

    If someone practiced Islamic lifestyle and understand its principle properly, he/she would never think to leave (murtad).

    Those who left (or think to leave) didn’t understood what they’re doing. The Islamic law is just to prohibit someone who has already got the best (Islam) to go for others or none (animisme/atheist). That’s why … (Imagine a parent guiding an immature child.)

  13. kuntakintae says:

    shaff Posted: 5 Jun 09 : 2.19PM

    Islam [in Malaysia] — you’re free to join but you can never leave, even if you’re dead.

    Just like Hotel Califonia by the Eagles.

  14. fauzikir says:

    He has a point which is in this case Jagir Singh’s contention that the Syariah Court is not able to hear from non-Muslims which is utter nonsense.

    The issue is establishing the religion of the deceased. In the case of Nyonya Tahir, the plaintiff won. So let’s see who will win again in this case Mr Jagir. Bring all your evidence and witnesses, you may also win your case.

  15. Lucius says:

    Dear Zulkifli, I don’t see why “Syariah Court is the best place to determine” the religious status of Mohan. Please be clear, Syariah Court is designed for Muslim. When there is a dispute on the religious status of Mohan, means he is not legally a Muslim yet. By no means the jurisdiction should be done by the Syariah Court. It should go to the civil court. Let the civil court decide whether Mohan is Muslim or otherwise.

  16. menkent says:

    Mr Zulkifli, we do not care what you think! Please educate yourself and note the following:

    The Federal Court decision on point is TAN SUNG MOOI (F) v. TOO MIEW KIM (1994) 3 CLJ 708 where 5 Federal Judges unanimously held:

    “It would result in grave injustice to non-Muslim spouses and children whose only remedy would be in the Civil Courts if the High Court no longer has jurisdiction, since the Syariah Courts do not have jurisdiction over non-Muslims”.

    Note: “… the Syariah Courts do not have jurisdiction over non-muslims”.

    Thus if the syariah court only has jurisdiction over Muslims then the rest of us are not to appear before it.

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