Petaling Jaya (Malaysia), Nov.26 : A senior professor of law in Malaysia has said that while the Conference of Malay Rulers has the right to deliberate a proposed fatwa (edict) banning Muslims from practicing yoga, the conference's consent is not needed for the edict to be issued.
Professor Dr. Shad Saleem Faruqi, a senior professor of law at the Universiti Teknologi MA and a constitutional expert said Article 38 of the Federal Constitution provided that among the functions of the conference was to agree or disagree on matters relating to religious acts, observances or ceremonies in the federation.
"The Conference of Rulers surely has the right to discuss any matter of national policy and those it thinks fit to discuss. However, I do not think its consent is needed. It can discuss but I do not think it is required to vet every fatwa," The Star quoted him as saying when he was contacted.
However, he said the National Fatwa Council should not issue a fatwa without the courtesy of referring the matter to and seeking the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong unless he had delegated that power.
Professor Shad said the proposed fatwa should be referred to the state religious authority for deliberation and the consent of the ruler of a state as he was the head of religion in the states before the edict could be issued.
For the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan, and the states of Malacca, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak, he said the consent of the King must be sought.
If states do not adopt a National Fatwa Council edict, he said the proposed edict would be merely a recommendation.