By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 — Lim Kit Siang t
oday urged Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail to begin contempt proceedings against Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz (picture) for attacking “the independence, impartiality, integrity and professionalism” of Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan.
“Nazri launched a most improper, unwarranted and unprecedented attack on Lau, not only saying that her Dec 31 decision was wrong, but [he was] also maligning and besmirching her judicial competence and role by declaring that she is not a Muslim and had improperly ruled over a matter that concerned the ‘akidah’ (faith) of the Muslim community.
“This is the first time that I know of a judge being attacked on the ground of her religious credentials
rather than her judicial competence and temper — and coming from the de facto Law Minister, it must
be regarded most seriously as a totally unacceptable attack on the independence, impartiality, integrity and professionalism of the judiciary,” Lim (picture) said in a press statement.
The High Court had on Dec 31 last year ruled that the Catholic Church’s Herald weekly had the constitutional right to publish the word “Allah” in its publication, to cater to its Bahasa Malaysia-speaking followers.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s department and de facto Law Minister questioned Lau’s “Allah” decision because she was not a Muslim and therefore did not understand the “Malay psyche.”
Nazri also stressed that Muslims are constitutionally Malays and the two cannot be separated.
“You must study the psyche of the Malays. The Chinese can be Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, no problem, but the Malays, the race itself is defined in the Constitution.
“Who is Malay? In the Constitution, [a] Malay is one: a Muslim; two: speaks Malay; and three: practises Malay culture. In the Constitution, there can’t be [a] Malay who is not a Muslim. Anything at all, any suspicion will confuse the ordinary Malays. They become so protective because Malay and Islam cannot be separate,” Nazri told reporters yesterday.
The DAP advisor, however, rejected Nazri’s claims as a “dangerous perversion and subversion of the Constitution.”
“What is Nazri trying to say? Is he laying down a new law that in multi-religious and multi-racial Malaysia where the Constitution recognises Islam as the official religion but guarantees freedom of religion for all other faiths, non-Muslim and non-Malay judges must be excluded from adjudicating certain cases like the Herald ‘Allah’ case allegedly because it concerns the ‘akidah’ of the Muslim community, and the Malay psyche?
“Fifty-two years after Merdeka and 46 years after the formation of Malaysia, is the country going backwards with a further dichotomy of the judicial system where there is [a] new division of cases which is to be adjudicated solely by judges who fulfil the two conditions of being Muslim and Malay because they fall into the category of [the] ‘akidah’ of the Muslim community and the Malay psyche?
“Will the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court — should the appeal on the Herald’s “Allah” case reach that level — be constituted solely with Muslim and Malay judges to take into account Nazri’s extraordinary objections?” Lim asked.