Ridiculous nonsense of Clive Kessler

clive-kessler-285Ridiculous nonsense of professor Clive Kessler.

You know some people like to frame their arguments in the details in the hope that the audience miss the big picture. To give his/her view a strong impression, he calls those argument against his as nonsense in the hope that the audience won’t think beyond. Marina Mahathir employed the same recently and now we have Clive Kessler. Clive is hoping that we don’t see the elephant in the room. But the elephant is just too big to be overlooked, Clive. He concluded based on certain selective provisions intentionally omitting other provisions in the constitution to give a nuanced bias view.

Let me put it bluntly then. This write by Clive Kessler on secularism should be consigned to the rubbish dump. Either he is utterly ignorant of what secularism means or intends frame the discourse in a misleading fashion.

Fact 1: Definition: Secularism must mean separation of state and religion. A constitution which is bias to any religion can NEVER be secular. People cannot and should not be discriminated based on religion under secularism.

Because of this definition, even UK is to many, NOT a secular state for the following reasons 1) the monarch upholds Christianity 2) church sits in the House of Lords 3) Church of England is the state religion 4) King/ Queen anointed by the Bishop.

nonsense clive

Fact 2: Under our own Malaysian constitution we have a state religion where the king and sultans are the head of religion of the federation and states respectively. Our constitution explicitly recognizes various Islamic religious bodies, institutions and courts. It too recognizes jurisdictions where Islamic religious laws can be enacted to dictate the moral conduct of more than half of the population. Any breach of such laws tantamounts to a penal offence. Thus an act is an offence for Muslims but not for a non Muslim.

Thus, based on the above, can anyone actually say that our constitution separate state and religion? Can anyone affirm with conviction that our constitution is not bias towards Islam and does not discriminate between religion? No kan.

Conclusion: Using a simple school logic, if UK is being questioned as a secular state, how in the world can Malaysia which has so much more pronounced bias towards Islam can ever be clearly categorized as a secular state? Tak boleh kan? See the utter nonsense of Clieve Kessler. Totally tak masuk akal missing the elephant in the room.

Our constitution is not secular nor Islamic in the ordinary meaning of the word. It’s not my wordings. This is from our constitution expert Shad Faruqi. In fact if you google on secularism in the world, we are not even classified as secular state. At best we are considered as an ambiguous states because of these features. See for example the graph at https://propelsteps.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/know-list-of-secular-non-secular-and-ambiguous-countries/

We need to be clear that our constitution is in essence no more than a product of our social compromise. It’s not based on absolute ideology. Never will. There are too many exceptions to any particular ideology. More of a give and take that makes it unique.

Why lah so difficult to recognise and accept this fact Clive?

Lukman Sheriff

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of, and should not be attributed to, Isma or Ismaweb.



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