PETALING JAYA: Pro-moderation advocate Mohamed Tawfik Ismail has sent a letter to the Conference of Rulers regarding his suit over the tabling of the proposed amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965.
In the letter dated July 21, Tawfik said he wanted to focus the attention of the Rulers on the constitutionality of PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s Private Member’s Bill, commonly referred to as RUU355.
A day later, he sent another letter to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia and secretary Datuk Roosme Hamzah to inform them of the letter he had sent the Conference of Rulers.
“In my letter to the Conference of Rulers that was written through the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal, I appealed to that body, as the guardian of the (Federal) Constitution, to act in the greater interest of our nation and assume the role envisaged by the Constitution,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
The former Umno MP and son of Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, who was the country’s second deputy prime minister, said the letter aimed to draw the attention of the Rulers to the “serious constitutional crisis” arising from Pandikar’s “refusal to take cognisance of the provisions of the Federal Constitution” with regards to Articles 38 and 62.
Furthermore, he said whether Abdul Hadi’s motion and RUU355 fulfilled the conditions of Standing Order 49(1) also raised the matter of its constitutionality.
Article 38 of the Constitution refers to the powers of the Conference of Rulers while Article 62 relates to parliamentary procedure. Standing Order 49(1) covers the parliamentary procedure involving Private Member’s Bills.
“It should be remembered that Abdul Hadi’s motion and RUU355 are within the jurisdiction of the Rulers as heads of religion in their respective states,” said Tawfik.
In his later letter to Pandikar and Roosme, Tawfik said he had told them that there was no proof that RUU355 had been agreed to by the Conference of Rulers.
He also reiterated his view that Pandikar allowing RUU355 to be tabled in Parliament was sub judice due to Tawfik’s pending suit.
He also urged Pandikar not to table and debate RUU355 as a show of respect to the Conference of Rulers.
On March 31, Tawfik filed a suit to seek a court declaration that Abdul Hadi’s motion to amend the law was in breach of the Federal Constitution, as well as procedures and Standing Orders of the Dewan Rakyat.
He also sought a declaration that the proposed amendments to the law were made without the consent of the Conference of Rulers.
Pandikar and Roosme were named as defendants in the suit.