Saturday 1 September 2012

Umno, state your stand on hudud — P. Ramakrishnan

AUG 31 ― When Kelantan Umno chief Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamad demanded “why they (PAS) are unable to implement hudud laws in Kelantan?” Malaysians would like to know what exactly Umno’s stand on the hudud issue is.

Is Umno for the implementation of the hudud laws in Malaysia? We know that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had stated that hudud is not suitable for a multi-ethnic society like Malaysia. But that is not enough. He must publicly, honestly and frankly declare: “Umno will not implement hudud laws in Malaysia.”

Only then would it be very clear what Umno’s stand is. Otherwise, it would only be dithering without being specific.

If Umno has no intention of implementing hudud laws in Malaysia, why is it then goading PAS to implement hudud? Why is it provoking PAS on this issue?

Mustapa stated that “although the laws had been passed by the Kelantan state assembly in 1993, they were still in the ‘implantation’ stages and were not enforced”.

Surely he must know some facts and a little bit of Malaysian history. The Kelantan assembly passed the hudud laws in response to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s challenge to the PAS government to implement the hudud laws. He even promised to amend the Federal Constitution to enable the PAS government to implement the hudud laws.

But when the PAS government went ahead and passed these laws, Dr Mahathir did not honourably keep his word. He went back on his promise. He backtracked; he did not have the courage or the integrity to be faithful to his pledge.

But that was history. But what is the reality today?

PAS, to its credit, had moved away from the Islamic state and the hudud laws by adopting an inclusive philosophy which reaches out to every Malaysian. They have adopted, as a matter of policy, what is termed as a ‘benevolent state’, which addresses the needs of the poor, the marginalised, the voiceless and the helpless. For simplicity ― but erroneously ― it is commonly termed as a “welfare state”.

This shift is commendable. Instead of lauding this development in PAS, Umno is attempting to push PAS into hudud territory. What is your game, Umno? Shame on you that you cannot, unlike PAS, change for the better!

In the meantime, the MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek and his cohorts should stop baying like a pack of wolves on the hudud issue when they are unable to persuade Umno to state positively that hudud will not be implemented in Malaysia. Do that first; then you can take everybody else to task on the hudud issue.

He realistically claims that if “PAS were to amend the Federal Constitution to suit its religious teachings, then all Muslim members of parliament would have to support it.

“He said the situation would be similar to when PAS amended the state Constitution in Terengganu ― all Umno assemblymen there had to support it.”

His memory of history is much better than that of Mustapa’s! The simple question actually is whether Umno will support or oppose the implementation of hudud laws.

As long as Umno remains ambivalent on the hudud issue, MCA should not be aiming its guns at others who have stated their position very clearly.

Can Dr Chua give us an honest answer as to why the Terengganu state government under the Barisan Nasional has not repealed the Islamic Criminal Enactment, passed by PAS in 2002, when it ruled Terengganu state! Umno has had eight years (since it recaptured Terengganu in 2004) to prove its sincerity but has done nothing!

This is a test case for Dr Chua. Get the Barisan Nasional to repeal this enactment in Terengganu. If he can display the moral courage so sorely needed and demand without any hesitation that Umno should immediately repeal this enactment, only then has he the right to talk about the dangers of hudud laws.

Ralph Waldo Emerson would say, “Go put your creed into your deed.” —

* P. Ramakrishnan, the immediate past president of Aliran, now serves on the Aliran executive committee.

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