by DAP Deputy National Chairman, Karpal Singh
in Kuala Lumpur
on 1 July 2002
PAS should snap out of day dreaming and face the realities of the legal terrain in the country which finds expression in the Federal Constitution and the embodiment of which clearly reflects a State Government cannot pass laws which are diametrically opposed to provisions of the Constitution
PAS should get out of its self-induced stupor that the implementation of the PAS-led Terengganu Government's Syariah Criminal Enactment Bill will win PAS more seats in the coming general elections enabling it to form the next Federal Government. PAS should snap out of day dreaming and face the realities of the legal terrain in the country which finds expression in the Federal Constitution and the embodiment of which clearly reflects a State Government cannot pass laws which are diametrically opposed to provisions of the Constitution and that the country is a secular state with Islam as its official religion. There is no doubt the Syariah Criminal Enactment Bill, apart from being clearly discriminatory against women, lacks competency of passage in the Terengganu State Assembly as it violates fundamental provisions of the Federal Constitution.
I am surprised PAS leaders who spoke at the special dialogue session on the Terengganu Syariah Criminal Enactment Bill: 'Does it discriminate against women?' did not include Tun Salleh Abas, a Terengganu State Executive Councillor. Tun Salleh's experience as a former Lord President of the Federal Court and Solicitor-General certainly puts him in good stead to advise his colleagues in PAS not to pursue the fulitily of their ways in defying the Federal Consitution by enacting laws like the Syariah Criminal Enactment and insisting on setting up an Islamic state if PAS comes to power. Tun Salleh is on record as Lord President to have, together with four other senior judges of the Supreme Court, unanimously decided in February 1988 that the term 'Islam' or 'Islamic religion' in Article 3 of the Federal Constitution in the context means only such acts as relate to rituals or ceremonies which in effect amounts to rejection of Malaysia as an Islamic state.
Tun Salleh is duty-bound to ensure PAS does not openly defy and subvert the Federal Constitution. Pursuant to Article 124 of the Federal Constitution before exercising the functions of his office, Tun Salleh had to take and subscribe to the oath of office and allegiance set out in the Sixth Schedule of the Federal Constitution in the presence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and that included preservation, protection and defence of the Constitution. Tun Salleh should be true to his conscience by impressing upon his colleagues in PAS of the need to respect and abide by the Federal Constitution, not defy it.
With PAS' open declaration yesterday at the dialogue led by Abdul Hadi Awang, its supreme leader now, that the implementation of the Syariah Criminal Enactment Bill with help it form the next Federal Government, it has become impossible for the DAP to associate itself with PAS in the coming by-elections in Pendang and Anak Bukit and the general elections. The DAP firmly supports the framers of the Federal Constitution and will oppose any attempt by PAS or UMNO to subvert its provisions which form a social contract between all the races in the country.