Monday, January 02, 2006

Moorthy's case - a Muslim's voice of reason

Moorthy was a national hero. He had made great sacrifices for the nation and made all Malaysians regardless of race or religion proud. When he was stricken by illness, the government did not seem to care for his health and welfare.

When Moorthy passed away, the nation should have mourned and paid tribute to this great Malaysian.

Sadly, the controversy has resulted in grave injustice to Moorthy and his family.

KeADILan respects the right of the individual to embrace the religion of his choice as guaranteed under the Federal Constitution. In the case of M. Moorthy, if he had embraced Islam as claimed, we should respect his choice. Unfortunately, the manner in which the authorities, especially JAWI, handled this issue has only served to give Islam a bad name and has contributed to prejudices against Islam. The Syariah court has made a decision in haste and without full cognizance of the facts by summarily coming to the conclusion that Moorthy died as a Muslim knowing fully that his immediate family members have categorically disputed this.

In the interests of justice, the court should have listened to both sides before coming to any final decision. Islam enjoins on those sitting in judgment to give justice, not mere orders or commands. Islam also enjoins on those in authority to use their power with compassion and wisdom. We believe that in this entire affair if these matters had been addressed accordingly, taking into full consideration the grievance, the pain and the suffering that the family members of Moorthy are going through, a better solution would have been arrived at.

This entire episode has painted a negative image of Islam not just to Malaysians of other faith but to the rest of the world. More must be done to enhance mutual trust and harmony among the different communities and the manner in which the present authorities are doing it, under the name of Islam Hadhari, represents a step backwards in inter-racial and inter-religious relations. KeADILan is saddened that this controversy shows our society is deeply divided.

Thus, we urge all Malaysians to remain united in this time of crisis. We once again call on members of the judiciary both civil and syariah to carry out their judicial duties with courage and conviction and no to shirk their responsibilities when faced with sensitive cases such as this.

At the same time, we urge the legal fraternity to comprehensively review the provisions in the Federal Constitution pertaining to religion including Article 121 with a view to remedying the problems that have arise under the current provisions so that all Malaysians will be assured that they will not be victimized by the law.

We must continue to engage and promote greater understanding among all Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs to ensure greater peace and harmony in the country.

Mohamed Azmin Ali
Vice President, Parti KeADILan Rakyat
31 December 2005

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