Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Hudud: Immediate implementation not possible?

Douglas Tan | 9:24AM Oct 10, 11

The media frenzy surrounding the PAS Supporters Congress (PSC) is seeking to blow the issue of hudud law further out of proportion.

Their chairman, Hu Pang Chow, mentioned that he could not justify to their 20,000 members how hudud law could be implemented upon non-Muslims without prior consultation.

He also took the PAS led Kelantan State Government to task, saying that they would take their support elsewhere if they did not receive an adequate explanation.

Personally, I do not like the idea of any citizen of our country being dismembered, even after being found guilty of a crime. However, hudud is well known to be Islamic law, which would be governed only by the syariah courts if they ever were to be implemented.

Both Nik Aziz and Anwar Ibrahim have made it abundantly clear in the press that hudud would apply to Muslims only, and the rights of non-Muslims would not be affected.

This is common sense that as Syariah law could never apply to a non-Muslim in Malaysia, what more could hudud law!

Put simply, the reason that there has been no road shows about the implementation of hudud law is simply because immediate implementation is simply not possible.

Only now has Nik Aziz ordered the set up of a committee to look into the legalities of enacting hudud law, but it would certainly require parliamentary approval to be given first, even if it is only meant to be in Kelantan.

Furthermore, as approval by Parliament would almost be impossible, it would be unrealistic to suggest that the framework of hudud law could even be drawn up.

Only if PAS became the majority party in parliament could such approval be given. Given the current political structure of the country, hudud law should continue to be confined as a pipe dream.

The prime minister has openly criticised Pakatan Rakyat for being divided over the issue of hudud, and on that basis they are not fit to govern the country.

I would put it to the prime minister that there is also dissent within BN itself about certain policies, but because the culture of BN is so dependent on Umno, no one dares to voice it out.

Hudud is also an item which is neither included in Pakatan's 'Buku Jingga', nor is it in their common framework policy.

The three main parties within PR have differing ideals, but what they are united in is the goal to stamp out graft and corruption, liberalise the economy to become globally competitive, improve the education system, improve the country's infrastructure, enable press freedom, enable freedom of speech, guarantee "freedom after speech" and freedom of religion amongst other crucial reforms.

If the people of Kelantan are calling for hudud law, there should be a state-wide referendum to truly gauge whether this is the will of the people.

If a referendum is impractical, all parts of Kelantanese society should still be consulted, to ensure that everyone is happy and comfortable with the proposals before acting.

As a maturing democracy, all political parties must turn back to the people when considering such a major reform.

The hudud trick has once again been employed as an election strategy by a desperate Umno/BN to instil fear and doubt back into the hearts of the people.

Their modus operandi is to make the rakyat fear the unknown, and make us believe that life would always be better under their oppressive regime.

The public should not be fooled by this sandiwara. If anything, it is Umno who are dead against hudud law, as many of their leaders may find themselves with missing limbs!

DOUGLAS TAN received his law degree from the University of Nottingham

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