CFM Press Statement: Court of Appeal Decision on Subaishi v Saravanan Case

The Christian Federation of Malaysia views with great concern the recent decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of Subashini v. Saravanan, where she, although a non-Muslim, was urged to submit to the jurisdiction of the Syariah courts to seek recourse from the break-up of her family, when her husband converted to Islam.

It is troubling to note, and indeed of great concern to all Malaysians, that what is clearly stated in the Federal Constitution, that the Syariah courts shall have jurisdiction only over persons professing the religion of Islam [Schedule 9, List 11(1)], is now being extended, by the court decision, to include non-Muslims.

The Christian Federation of Malaysia respects the Federal Constitution to be the supreme law of the country [Art 4 (1)], and therefore, it must guarantee the right of all non-Muslim Malaysian citizens to find justice served in the civil courts of the country.

In view of this development, the Christian Federation of Malaysia joins with all other likeminded Malaysians in raising our concern to the government. Decisions like this impact negatively on the social fabric of Malaysia.

We therefore, call on all elected members of Parliament to do everything within their means to defend our Constitution, and to safeguard the right of non-Muslim citizens to find remedy and justice in the civil courts in matters pertaining to civil rights and liberties.

Bishop Paul Tan Chee Ing, SJ
Chairman
The Executive Committee
Christian Federation of Malaysia
Dated : 22nd March 2007

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