Islam: Nothing in constitution about leaving

I refer to your report Peguam: Perlembagaan tidak benarkan umat Islam murtad in which Syariah Lawyers Association president Muhamad Burok says that the constitution does not allow Muslims to leave Islam. I want to object to this view as I cannot find anything in the freedom of religion provision in Article 11 to say this.

I know that the judges in deciding cases of conversion out of Islam say that the state syariah courts must make that decision. I respect the views of the judges, but we must understand that these views are an interpretation of the constitution. So I think it is wrong for lawyer Muhamad Burok to take the opportunity to confuse us by saying that our constitution is saying this. It is so unfortunate that he is saying this in his capacity as president of the Syariah Lawyers Association. It is unbecoming behaviour of a lawyer.

I think that the right of belief must be with the person and not the courts or the government. The law must recognise this freedom for the person to believe what she or he want to believe in. If the person is dead, it is fair for the courts to find from the evidence of this intention. If the person is still alive, the courts and the government must give respect to that person's choice of religion.

The government is considering which court should listen to the freedom of a Muslim to leave Islam. We are waiting for this to be decided as many parties have stated their views that the current situation about leaving Islam has created uncertainties in the protection of freedom of religion and belief.