The majority of Malaysia’s 32 million population are Muslims, hence, the post of Prime Minister should only be held by a Muslim and this should be enshrined in the federal constitution, said PAS senator Khairil Nizam Khirudin.
He said this through a posting on his social media account and urged the government to table a constitutional amendment for this.
Khairil stressed that this is not a populist or extremist move, but instead necessary for the law to preserve the sanctity of Islam as the religion of the federation.
He also claimed that this is already practiced by the states of Terengganu, Kedah, Negri Sembilan, Perlis, and Pahang, where the position of menteri besar is restricted to Muslims.
Cadangan saya ini bukan populis atau ekstremis tetapi kerana menyedari hakikat bahawa Islam adalah agama persekutuan yang perlu terus ditegakkan dan diperlihara kesuciannya. pic.twitter.com/cY9Y1M4Nbt— Ir. Ts. Khairil Nizam (@IrKhairilNizam) March 24, 2022
What lawyers had to say?
Speaking to The Vibes, former law professor Datuk Gurdial Singh Nijar said that such a law could fundamentally contradict the Malaysia’s system of government.
According to the federal constitution, the prime minister is a Member of Parliament (MP) who, in the view of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, commands the support of the majority of the Dewan Rakyat.
However, if someone were to be appointed to the post purely because of their faith, it would “undermine the whole basis upon which the Westminster model of democracy functions,” he said.
Gurdial also warn of the further complications, saying if someone without a majority in Parliament helms the government, he could later face a vote of no-confidence in the august House, thus jeopardising his position and the government entirely.
He then stressed that the concept of majority rule is crucial to allow the processes of Parliament to proceed smoothly.
Khairil’s statement has garnered a mixed reaction from netizens, with many supporting his call, while the rest accused him of playing religious sentiments in the run-up to the general election.
“This proposal is purely an extremist move. What are you trying to do here? Creating dissent? All of our previous prime ministers are Muslims and realistically speaking, Malaysia, being a Malay-Muslim majority country, will never vote for a party which puts forward a non-Muslim PM candidate.” a netizen said.
Senangnya…asyik guna majoriti untuk justify semua benda…selagi ada PAS, MY tak yah maju kedepan lah…siapa pun boleh jadi PM as long as berupaya.— DC (🏴🏴🇲🇾🇲🇾) (@derekccwai) March 26, 2022
Several netizens also called out the Islamist party for pretending to protect Islam while remaining mum on corruption.
On the other hand, those who supported his call argued that the law would not just show respect to Islam, but would also uphold its place in the federal constitution.
“I agree! Before other parties take advantage, we should amend the constitution. What matters is Islam!” another netizen said.
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