Star (Used by permission)
• Bar Council goes ahead with talks on syariah law
KUALA LUMPUR: Police will not hesitate to take action if anyone gathered at or
near the Bar Council because of its forum on conversion to Islam.
Dang Wangi OCPD Asst Comm Zulkarnain Abdul Rahman said police would be on full
alert and advised people not to hold gatherings there.
He said this was meant for those who were against the forum and those who
ACP Zulkarnain said police will not close any roads leading into the area but
police personnel will be stationed in the areas where the gathering is expected
to take place.
Several non-government organisations and a political party have called for
demonstrations to be held to protest against the council’s public forum.
“As normal procedure, we will have our light strike force (LSF) and the Federal
Reserve Unit (FRU) personnel on standby in the area,” he said.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said the council would have to face
the consequences as it had been warned against holding the forum.
“The police will be prepared to face any outcome in the interest of maintaining
public order,” he said of the demonstrations by groups who were against the
Leaders meanwhile continued to criticise the council for going ahead with the
Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the Internal Security Act
(ISA) ought to be used if the continued questioning of Article 121 of the
Federal Constitution resulted in racial tension.
Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin said the council should test the
patience of the Malays and Muslims.
“Do not fan racial and religious issues to create tension and friction among the
groups,” he said.
Women’s Development and Social Affairs Adviser to the Prime Minister Datuk Seri
Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said the forum might do more harm than the benefits which
She said Wanita Umno disagreed with the forum, adding that sensitive issues
should not be made the subject of any public forum especially when the
perimeters were not properly defined.
“The Bar Council, as a responsible professional body, should have the maturity
to deal with such issues in a more responsible, sensitive and tactful manner so
as to preserve the peace and harmony enjoyed by all,” she said.
PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the forum on conversion to Islam
should be held in closed-doors to allay fears given its sensitivities.
He said a closed-door forum would still allow people to express themselves
without the discussion being seen as too provocative.
“I will personally advise that if they are to proceed, they should have a closed
forum and then have engagement with those who have expressed concern,” he said
at a press conference here yesterday.
Bar Council goes ahead with talks on syariah law
PETALING JAYA: The Bar Council’s forum on conversion to Islam will proceed today
as planned despite criticisms and calls for it to be held as a closed-door
In a statement yesterday, Bar Council vice-chairman Ragunath Kesavan reiterated
that their concern was to address the issues of laws facing families caught
between the separate jurisdictions of civil and syariah laws.
“We recognise and respect Article 121(1A). However, there is a strong viewpoint
that it is unjust to compel anyone to be subjected to laws and courts that are
based on a religion that they do not profess, and this viewpoint must be
Article 121 (1A) confers syariah jurisdiction over Muslims on syariah courts.
Although open to everyone, Ragunath said they were taking the necessary
precautions to ensure that the dialogue took place in a controlled and
constructive manner, by holding it in a closed setting and by requiring
participants to register for the event.
Various quarters had expressed concern over the forum, including Deputy Prime
Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who said an open forum could cause those
with differing views to become emotional.
PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat also questioned the Bar
Council’s move while a group of non-governmental organisations had submitted a
memorandum to the Bar Council yesterday stating that such forum would offend the
feelings of Muslims.
“The forum is not about conversion per se, as the Bar Council endorses the
absolute right of individuals to embrace Islam. Instead, the forum will address
the ancillary issues that arise from such situations and will emphasise the need
for laws and a judicial system that protects everyone equally,” he added.
Meanwhile, two speakers out of the five scheduled to speak at the forum have
pulled out from the event.
The two are former syariah judge and Federal Territory Islamic Department
prosecutor Dr Mohd Naim Mokhtar and the Institute of Islamic Understanding’s
Centre for Syariah Laws and Political Science director Dr Wan Azhar Wan Ahmad.