On New Year's Day I penned Possible reason for Mahathir blaming muftis? in which I mentioned my suspicions that Mahathir blamed the muftis for the tragic outcome of the Memali Incident as his preemptive attack against the possibility of the federal and Kelantan governments calling for and convening a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into that Incident just before GE14.
I reckon Mahathir has been extremely worried another RCI just immediately after the scandalous one on the BNM FOREX loss of RM31.5 Billion may just be too much for the Malaysian public. Of course he is not worried about the 'converted' who won't believe he did anything wrong. It's the Malay Heartland he is worried about.
Politically he may not survive another such attack through "revelations" by the notional RCI on Memali, where as I said, his name, reputation and alleged insensitivity will be dragged through mud, shit and blood in the Malay Heartland because the Memali Incident where 14 local Muslim civilians and 4 policemen died has been a very sensitive issue amongst the conservative Malay Muslims.
Who was right and who was wrong is totally irrelevant in a political stoush and any damage done to him will affect his and Pribumi's political chances in GE14.
I now know I haven't been wrong as Mahathir's old mate former attorney-general Abu Talib Othman has now emerged to say:
(a) it was the former (deceased) Agong and not Mahathir who sacked the former Lord President of the Judiciary and
(b) there is no need for a RCI to be conducted into the Memali incident as the police has all the details.
Abu Talib said: “Why is the IGP (inspector-general of police) quiet about it? They should come out and tell the truth."
“Why won’t the police come out and tell the whole story of what happened on the ground?"
“They handled the situation; they were on the ground, they have access to everything. They know the story.”
Alas for Abu Talib, he seemed to have forgotten the police was an involved party in the Memali Incident which is why police information alone is not good enough and a public instrument called Royal Commission of Inquiry may well be called for.
Yes indeed, why didn't Abu Talib say that PAS too has all the necessary information and thus a RCI isn't necessary? Wakakaka.
In fact, the man who initially bore the responsibility and blame (or not-blame) for the Memali Incident, former DPM Musa Hitam, welcomed the formation of an RCI on the Memali incident.
If a RCI was not necessary why did Musa Hitam support it?
To be fair to Musa Hitam he said a RCI should only be carried out after the general election, presumably for fear such a RCI will affect Mahathir's election prospects.
But the BN federal government, and the PAS and BN state governments respectively of Kelantan and Kedah, may not be so diplomatic as Musa Hitam and a RCI may well be in the offing.
By the by, Abu Talib Othman, the former Attorney-General, was in fact the very man who drafted the contentious Article 121(1)(A) in 1988 for then-PM Dr Mahathir.
Now, what is this controversy about Constitutional Article 121 (1)(A) that we hear so often these last several years?
According to Malaysiakini, a former Syariah court judge Sheikh Azmi Ahmad claimed to have tried the case that led to the amendment of the Constitution and the insertion of Article 121(1)(A).
About thirty years ago, there was a bloke by the name of Abdul Rahim, a teacher, who challenged the syariah court’s power to prosecute him, because he said he was no longer a Muslim as he was practising the teachings of Qadiani, a Muslim sect in Punjab India which was founded by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.
The teachings of this sect had been declared as deviant by the Malaysian Fatwa Council, therefore Abdul Rahim argued in court that if he was following a deviant religion, surely he must no longer be a Muslim and not under the jurisdiction of the syariah court.
But judge Sheikh Azmi Ahmad after hearing the teacher’s case, ruled that the syariah still had jurisdiction over him as the fatwa (religious edict) alone did not necessarily render him an apostate.
But Abdul Rahim took the matter to the Civil High Court which granted him a decree that he was no longer a Muslim and therefore not bound under the syariah court. Mind you, in those days the civil courts still had balls.
Anyway, the ruling caused a big panic (amongst Muslim authorities) because it meant that any Malaysian Muslim could just leave Islam by following a sect pronounced as deviant by the Malaysian Fatwa Council. Thus Mahathir had the Constitution amended to include Article 121(1)(A) which states that the civil court has no jurisdiction on syariah matters, wakakaka.
A few points to note:
(1) the Article was meant to deal with matters affecting Muslims who wanted to leave Islam, like teacher Abdul Rahim, and not cases like Moorthy's where the religion of the deceased was still 'iffy'; indeed the sub clause (1)(A) specifically states "The courts referred to in Clause (1) shall have no jurisdiction in respect of any matter within the jurisdiction of the Syariah courts" and not just any or every ding-dong issues involved in Islam.
(2) it was obvious the Civil Courts in Moorthy's case had conveniently 'forgotten' or refused to 'remember' this when the Article was only relatively recent vis-a-vis Moorthy's case, and therefore should be well known as to what and why it had been inserted.
Malik Tabiaz, a human rights lawyer stated that such cross-religion cases like Moorthy's occurred on a regular basis, where civil judges nowadays avoided or even rejected them the moment they catch a whiff of Islamic issue in them. Malaysian call this syndrome 'act dunno' or in Malay 'buat ta'tahu', wakakaka.
Mahathir must be extremely worried to drag his old matey out to 'certify' on both the Judiciary Sacking and the Memali Incident.
(3) The other significant amendment to the Federal Constitution was the sub clause (1). It used to say (before the 1988 amendment) "...the judicial power of the Federation shall be vested in the High Courts", but after the amendment it says the High Court "shall have such jurisdiction and powers as may be conferred by or under federal law." - remember the then 'High Courts' are today's 'Federal courts', the highest in the land.
Thus before 1988 the courts derived their powers from the Constitution where their independent powers irked Mahathir, who then had his AG Abu Talib amend the clause to read that the courts are only meant to have those powers which Parliament (meaning Mahathir himself, wakakaka) decides to give them.
By and with that amendment Mahathir made the Judiciary subservient to Parliament (effectively the ruling government of the day). That was how Mahathir eff-ed up the Judiciary.
Of course by then, we knew Mahathir had then just warred with the then Lord President, Salleh Abas, following the UMNO Constitution Crisis, and had the Lord President and 5 other High Court judges sacked.