Book Launch
Constitutions, Religion and Politics in Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka

The Centre for Asian Legal Studies (CALS) was pleased to organise a book launch on 21 February 2018 for Dr Dian A.H. Shah to celebrate the publication of her sole-authored book entitled Constitutions, Religion and Politics in Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

Focusing on Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, the book shows how constitution-making and the operation of constitutional arrangements involving religion cannot be separated from the broader political dynamics of society. Although constitutions establish legal and political structures of government institutions and provide tools for rights protection, they do not operate in a vacuum divorced from the games of power and the political realities surrounding them. Dr Dian sets out how constitutions operate and evolve, and demonstrates how constitutional provisions can produce unintended consequences over time.

“'This book contains highly sophisticated and detailed comparative legal research. It uncovers the historical context in which constitutional religious freedoms came into being in Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka to explain how this informs modern day interpretation and application of these freedoms. It offers a very convincing explanation for the violation of religious freedoms in these countries, despite constitutional protections, examining a variety of issues including electoral processes, judicial decision-making and broader political contexts,” shares Professor Simon Butt, Sydney Law School.

The book is available from Cambridge University Press here.

Associate Professor Dan W. Puchniak, Director, Centre for Asian Legal Studies gives the Welcome Address.

Dr Dian A. H. Shah, author of the book sharing her journey and experiences in her research project leading to the book publication.

Panel Discussants: (From left to right) Professor Simon Butt, Dr Dian A. H. Shah, Professor Donald L. Horowitz, Duke University School of Law, and Dr Mario Gomez, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

Dr Dian A. H. Shah presented copies of her book to the Director of the Centre for Asian Legal Studies and the panel discussants at the book launch.