At Umno AGM, Zahid vows party will amend Constitution to empower Shariah law

Syed Jaymal Zahiid
·2-min read
Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi raises the party flag at the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur March 28, 2021. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi raises the party flag at the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur March 28, 2021. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — Umno will push for the amendment of the Federal Constitution should the party form a super majority in Parliament in a bid to “empower” Shariah law, its president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi vowed today.

The pledge was made at the party’s annual general assembly here this morning, where Ahmad Zahid told delegates that Umno must fulfill its role as the defender of Islam as the oldest Malay political outfit.

In his policy speech, the Umno president criticised the Federal Court ruling that annulled Selangor state law's provision which made unnatural sex a Shariah offence, saying the decision had deep ramification that could “denigrate” Islam and challenge the sovereign power of Malay rulers.

The former deputy prime minister had also remarked on a landmark High Court ruling that upheld the constitutional right of Bumiputera Christians to use the word “Allah” in their religious worship that has sparked backlash among conservative Malays.

“Umno feels the ruling has a serious implication.

“The ruling could potentially annul all criminal Shariah enactments in the states, it could challenge the sovereign power of the Malay Rulers.

“If we have two-thirds majority, we must amend the Federal Constitution so that Shariah Law can be strengthened,” he added.

Islamic laws fall under state purview in the country, with the respective Ruler as its supreme authority.

In a separate case on February 25, a nine-judge panel at the Federal Court declared that a Selangor state law provision that made unnatural sex a Shariah offence contravened the Federal Constitution since only Parliament has powers to enact criminal laws.

Earlier this month, the High Court ruled that the Malaysian government’s directive issued in 1986 with a total ban on the use of the word “Allah” in Christian publications is unconstitutional and invalid.

It also declared orders to affirm Sarawakian Bumiputera Christian Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill’s constitutional rights to not be discriminated against and practise her faith.

Umno is among several political parties that have vocally opposed the ruling and have pressured the Perikatan Nasional government to appeal against the ruling.

Five days ago, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah maintained that the use of the word “Allah” in reference to God in Christian publications or the Christian Bible in Bahasa Malaysia will not be allowed in Selangor.

Ahmad Zahid said Umno has always been the party to uphold Islam, and declared it an outfit that “people seek solace from” including for matters relating to livelihood and governance.

“For many decades now, Umno is for the people to seek solace. This remains in our DNA,” he said.

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