Thursday, May 31, 2007

CPPS Press Statement on Lina Joy's Judgment

The Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) views with deep concern the majority decision made yesterday by the Federal Court, that Lina Joy's religion of Islam would not be removed from her identity card. According to the Judgment, the law therefore does not officially recognize Lina Joy's conversion from Islam to Christianity.

The Federal Constitution of Malaysia as supreme law of the land provides a system that affirms justice for Muslims and non-Muslims respectively. Article 11, for example, guarantees that all Malaysians are free to practice and profess the religion of their choice. The Civil Courts are given the jurisdiction to uphold the rights guaranteed to all citizens in the Federal Constitution.

The Federal Court decision yesterday, however, does not seem to uphold this fundamental right that should be unequivocally provided for all citizens, according to universal principles of human rights. It also goes against the grain of Islam Hadhari, one of its principles being to uphold a "free and liberated people", a developmental policy by the Government.

The Judiciary is given the responsibility and duty of protecting fundamental liberties of all citizens, equal under the law. The CPPS calls on the judiciary to reclaim its role of defending the Federal Constitution.

The strong dissenting judgment indicates disagreement at the highest level and points to the urgent need to re-address the issue. Clear legal definitions must also be made to ensure such doubts, confusion and disagreement does not again arise.

That Lina Joy can no longer freely profess, practice and live out the religion of her choice marks detrimental for a nation that claims it is a progressive state well on its way to becoming a developed nation.

Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam Tricia Yeoh
Chairman Senior Research Analyst
Centre for Public Policy Studies Centre for Public Policy Studies

31st May 2007
Kuala Lumpur
Tags: Centre for Public Policy Studies, CPPS, Lina Joy, Federal Constitution of Malaysia, Federal Court, Civil Courts

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