I strongly object to the proposal put forward by Mohd Kamal Abdullah (Syariah Court should hear both sides) as to how a matter involving a Muslim and a non-Muslim litigant may be resolved. Why should a non-Muslim litigant appear before a Syariah Court to obtain justice?
Mohd Kamal apparently clings to the assumption that a Syariah Court is more just than a civil court. The veracity of this assumption cannot demonstrated on logical and empirical grounds. In fact a debate between scholars and jurists from the two parties before an impartial panel of experts would yield an outcome that might not favour either side.
But the civil court provides the non-Muslim litigant with a neutral forum where religion with its doctrines (including their competing schools of interpretation) and rites cannot have any substantive meaning and where the principle that his testimony shall not be received as less credible than his opponent's simply because he is an adherent of a different religion is always upheld.
The discussion by JTB (High Court fails in its duty) is more reasonable but, in my opinion, does not go far enough. The federal constitution should be amended again to make the civil court, or a similar forum, the only place where disputes between Muslim and non-Muslim litigants be heard. An arrangement of this sort would be faithful to the social contract entered into by the founding fathers of our nation.