Hudud: Time for Malaysians to face reality and move on

COMMENT: The Kelantan legislative assembly today tabled and debated the amendments to the Syariah Criminal Code (II) 1993. 

It remains a formality for the bill to be passed by the 45 Muslim assemblymen tomorrow. 

There is no doubt whatsoever that the PAS-dominated assembly will get what it wants. Whether PAS will get the necessary parliamentary approval is another matter.

However, it is certainly time for Malaysians to accept reality and move on.

The state's hudud laws (Islamic criminal laws) were in fact approved about 20 years ago.

For those who have been crying foul over PAS' bid to implement hudud in Kelantan for Muslims, isn't it time to bring the matter to a closure and move on? 

Especially for the DAP, MCA and Gerakan, they should by now face reality that as long as the bill is legal, they should accept the decision of the majority. Isn't that what's democracy about?

For the past three decades, the DAP, MCA , MIC and Gerakan have been making much noise objecting to or rejecting any move to have the hudud implemented in Kelantan or Malaysia. What have they achieved thus far? Nothing really.

As for Kelantan, all three main non-Malay majority political parties don't even have any elected representative in the state assembly.

If the majority of Muslims support the implementation of hudud in Kelantan, that's the democratic right of the Malays, no? 

On that note, what's DAP, MCA and Gerakan talking about championing religious rights and democracy? 

Don't Muslims have their right to practise their faith? Why then the discrimination against Muslims?

Much have been expressed by the DAP, MCA and Gerakan on the fears of hudud. Now, just what do they fear? Hudud or the implementation of hudud?

In principle, the non-Muslims don't have any right to deny Muslims of wanting hudud. But they have the right to demand that they are not subjected to or covered by hudud in any way, when implemented and enforced. 

So, the actual fear is the implementation, enforcement and administration of justice. And that is what the DAP has not even started to try to tackle or work out the details.

All they have done, especially the DAP, is to behave aggressively against hudud in the past three decades, politicising it and thereby portraying themselves as anti-Islam. Can you really blame those who label the DAP as anti-Islam?

What positive action has DAP taken to resolve the hudud issue? Are they really the champions of religious freedom and democracy?

If the DAP is really all that, its leaders should be thinking out of the box and accept hudud as the right of Muslims.

They should, instead, support PAS in the hudud issue and work out the implementation details with the Islamist party to ensure the minority non-Muslims in Kelantan are not covered or affected by hudud.

Isn't that the positive way forward for DAP in Pakatan or a Pakatan government? Or is the DAP lacking confidence in ensuring that Pakatan can implement and administer hudud just for Muslims and leave the non-Muslims out? 

The DAP has threatened PAS' position and status in Pakatan if the latter went ahead with trying to implement hudud in Kelantan. What positive result will that bring to minority non-Muslims and Malaysians in general?

All the DAP has done is to stir political emotions and fan the religious fire on hudud. Is DAP leading Malaysians to a positive social development or just picking fights to remain politically relevant to the non-Malays?

Let’s not forget the all important key feature of the amendments to the Syariah Criminal Code (II) Enactment, Kelantan, 1993, is that the hudud laws will apply only to Muslims. That's the principle.

The fears raised by DAP and other non-Malay quarters are the fears of mismanagement. Isn't that the job of the DAP to ensure that Pakatan can be a reliable administrator in Pakatan?

National news agency Bernama had quoted PAS assistant secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan as saying that the enactment offered non-Muslims the option of being tried under the hudud laws or civil law.

The improvements and amendments to the enactment are based on the views and suggestions of various quarters, among them legal experts, politicians and non-governmental organisations.

"With these amendments, the Penal Code shall be applicable to every normal (mukalaf) Muslim for any offence under the code," Takiyuddin, who also heads the Permanent Secretariat of the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code, said. 

Takiyuddin, who is the Kota Baru Member of Parliament and a legal practitioner, said the non-Muslims should no longer fear the implementation of the hudud laws. 

The (15-point) amendments have also streamlined the penalty for offences pertaining to sodomy and adultery as well as cover technical matters, he said.

He said the move towards the implementation of the Syariah penal code in the state was mooted when the hudud bill was passed by the state assembly on Nov 25, 1993.

"The establishment of a joint technical committee by the state and federal governments to review the implementation of hudud in Kelantan is seen as a positive development towards implementing the Islamic penal code. 

"Two matters had to be sorted out to overcome the legal impediments to gazetting and implementing the Kelantan hudud laws. The amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 and Article 76A (1) of the Federal Constitution that had to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat (Parliament)."

He said a PAS MP would table a Private Member's Bill to amend Article 76A (1) of the Federal Constitution to empower the state government to implement the Syariah penal code while the federal government would have to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 pertaining to the jurisdiction of the Syariah courts. 

In an immediate response, Kelantan Umno secretary Datuk Md Alwi Che Ahmad, who is also Kok Lanas assemblyman, said: "This is a matter solely for Muslims. Others should not interfere."

Meanwhile, a 50-man-strong Gerakan delegation from various states led by party deputy youth chief Andy Yong told Theantdaily: "We are here to support three of our Kelantan party comrades who have applied to the Kota Baru High Court to challenge the validity of hudud laws. 

"We are not anti-Islam. The hudud laws are inconsistent with the Federal Constitution. How do you really enforce two penal laws in the country? How to enforce such in a muti-racial country?"

The three who filed their documents with the High Court are Tuan Mat Tuan Wil, Soh Hoon Lee and Chung Man Sie.

Among the supporters were Gerakan young Turks from Penang, including Hng Chee Wey (state youth chief), Andy Tan Hum Wei (state youth treasurer) and Ooi Zhi Yi (state youth secretary).

Hng also said: "We are not anti-Islam. The assurances that non-Muslims would not be affected are lame. If a non-Muslim man rapes a Muslim woman, which law applies?" 

Gerakan Youth's proactive action is courageous. But where is MCA's 100-lawyer hudud panel in this now? 

The outcome of tomorrow's vote for the hudud bill, involving 32 PAS, 12 Umno and one PKR assemblymen is a forgone conclusion.

The Malaysian Insider has quoted DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke as saying the party will review its place in Pakatan following Kelantan PAS' move to table the hudud. More threats from the DAP, in the interest of Malaysians?

Where does that leave the minorities in Kelantan?


 
 
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