Thursday, August 23, 2007

Islam-as-I-say-tion: Syariah Laws To Replace English Common Laws?

Islam-as-I-say-tion is a term coined by lawyer and blog activist, Haris Ibrahim.

The Nation's Most Insinuative Vernacular Paper(TM), Utusan Malaysia, front-paged this yesterday:

[Source]

Also, from MCA's mouthpiece:

[Source]. Scan by Doc Mave.

It wasn't explicitly expressed which law should replace the English Common Law, but coming from a seminar organised by the Islamic Understanding Institute of Malaysia, you know which law he meant.

Also, from theSun's piece of news today, you'll get some light out of the Chief Justice's statement:

Our judiciary may risk insulating itself: Ex-judge
Tamarai Chelvi

PETALING JAYA (Aug 22, 2007): The Malaysian judiciary may risk insulating itself if it were to stop referring to the English common law and English judgments, former high court judge Datuk Syed Ahmad Idid said.

He was commenting on Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim's statement at a seminar organised by the Islamic Understanding Institute of Malaysia yesterday.

According to news reports, Ahmad Fairuz said he supported the late Islamic law expert Prof Ahmad Mohamad Ibrahim's view, that the use of English common law be abolished, and that local court decisions and circumstances be referred to instead.

"What is certain is that Ahmad's efforts were a clear objective that has placed Islamic law at its most qualified position," he said.

Syed Ahmad said while Ahmad Fairuz might prefer more decisions from Islamic courts to be cited, it would be up to the judges to decide whether they wanted to accept the principles in these judgments.

He added that Ahmad Fairuz could also mean that we cease to refer to English judgments.

"Well, we can be insulated by referring to our own!" he said.

"But I miss the days when Malaysian judgments were cited or referred to in many Commonwealth Courts."

Syed Ahmad said the Malaysian legal system is based on the English common law.

"The laws we observe, while many term them as our civil law, are grounded on common law and common law is also called Anglo-American law, which simply encompasses the body of judicial decisions and reports of decided cases.

"Some experts refer to the common law as laws that receive its force and authority from universal consent and practice of the people. Others call it 'unwritten law' because it is not written by politicians but rather by judges," he explained.

Lawyer and Kota Baru member of parliament Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said the judges had always made decisions based on Malaysian laws.

He said that at the same time, the judges also adopted certain principles from other laws, not only the English common law but also laws from India and Australia, to arrive at a decision.


Also, read theSun's editorial today - The value of Common Law.

To know more about the Common Law, visit the ever-reliable Wikipedia.

I'm not a law person. Perhaps Doc Mave, with his law wisdom, could voice his opinion on this.

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