Sharia supersedes the Constitution in Malaysia
According to a report from the 12 September edition of Malay Mail Online, the High Court of Ipoh, Malaysia issued an order to the Inspector-General of Police to arrest Mohammed Ridzuan Abdullah, a convert to Islam, and to ensure that Abdullah returns his six-year-old daughter to the mother Indira Gandhi who is still a Hindu. The court gave the IGP a week’s time to implement the order.
Kulasegaran, the lawyer who fought on behalf of Indira, stated that the court issued a mandamus order, which would oblige the country’s highest-ranking policeman to put into effect a warrant of arrest and recovery order issued previously.
Indira was separated from her daughter Prasana Diksa five years ago after her former husband Mohammed Ridzuan Abdullah forcibly took the 11-month-old away in April 2009. Since then Ridzuan has refused to hand over the toddler to her mother, in spite of Indira winning full custody of her three children in the Ipoh High Court in 2010.
On 30 May of this year, the same court issued the charge of contempt of court on Ridzuan and issued a warrant to jail him unless he returned the child.
But Mohd Ridzuan is absconding, with Prasana still under his hold. The police officials till date declined to carry out the Court’s orders to arrest Mohd Ridzuan, because Ridzuan won the custody rights for Prasana from the Shariah court, which some large sections of Malay society believe to be above the constitutional court.
Aware of this sentiment, the High Court judge Lee Swee Seng announced that the police’s inaction on such orders would eventually force the parents in such interfaith child custody disputes to ignore the civil court’s orders, prompting them instead to resort to unconstitutional methods to solve such disputes.
Lee emphasized that while the IGP is at liberty to have his own opinions, they must be set aside when the officer is executing his duties under the Police Act.
“There is no two ways about it. Otherwise no one would have any respect for the courts established under the Federal Constitution and the order it makes,” the judge said in his judgment that was sighted by Malay Mail Online.
This case is a telling example of how the Sharia Courts in Muslim majority countries often motivate their sympathizers to undermine constitutional authorities and institutions. It still remains to be seen whether the young Prasana is reunited with her mother.
The timeline of the case is given below as reported by the Malay Mail Online :