Anthony Loke: DAP not trying to interfere with Malaysia’s Islamic affairs, Ngeh erred in statement 

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 29 — DAP is not trying to interfere with Malaysia’s Islamic affairs, following a party lawmaker’s call to include non-Muslim constitutional experts in a committee studying the conflicts between Shariah laws and the Federal Constitution, said Anthony Loke.

The DAP secretary-general said that he was well aware that Beruas MP Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham’s statement yesterday would cause a polemic that the party is trying to interfere with Islamic affairs in the country.

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“This is not true at all. DAP respects the wisdom of DYMM Tuanku Sultan Selangor (Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah) in making any decision regarding the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs (MKI).

“The non-Muslim community also need not be concerned about this matter because if there is any amendment to the law involving their rights, it needs to be decided by the Council of Ministers before the usual process is carried out in Parliament.

“DAP is committed to the principle of mutual respect and harmony between religions and races, which is our shared responsibility,” said Loke in a statement today.

He was responding to Ngeh’s statement yesterday in which he suggested appointing non-Muslim constitutional experts to the committee so that non-Muslim views about proposed adjustments to the Constitution would also be taken into account before a proposal for any change in the law was made.

Loke had earlier clarified that Ngeh had made a mistake regarding the appointment of a non-Muslim constitutional expert to be a member of the Special Committee to Review the Duties of the Shariah Court.

He said the committee was established by MKI, which is chaired by the Sultan of Selangor and aims to advise the Council with recommendations to strengthen the responsibilities of the Shariah Court.

“Any proposal by the said committee that involves any amendment of the law needs to be brought to the Cabinet for the process of drafting the Bill as usual.

“It should be emphasised that the establishment of this special committee is not determined by the Cabinet, but by MKI,” said Loke, who is also a Cabinet minister.

The Seremban MP said DAP wanted to end the year on a harmonious note and contribute to a prosperous Malaysia for the coming year.

Yesterday, Ngeh said in his statement that he noticed that all members of the committee, which were announced on November 21, were Muslim.

Aside from his proposal to appoint non-Muslim constitutional experts to the committee, he also said it was imperative to have a representative from the Malaysian Bar on the committee as it is a statutory body established to ensure that proposed laws are fair and just.

Following that, the Perak DAP leader’s statement has since invited criticisms from both sides of the political divide.

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