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Saturday, May 28, 2016

There is no place in Malaysia for hudud

THE fact that the Government enabled the tabling of PAS’ controversial Private Member’s Bill on Thursday was a shock to many Malaysians, especially to the non-Umno MPs in Barisan Nasional.

This Bill, if passed, means hudud can be implemented in Kelantan.

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang tried to table his Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Bill in the Dewan Rakyat twice last year but failed.

Almost all non-Muslim leaders in Barisan, especially from Sabah and Sarawak, declared to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak that their parties would not support any amendments to federal laws that would introduce hudud in Kelantan.

But then it was suddenly tabled on Thursday.

If the Bill is passed, the worry is that the following could occur:

> A non-Muslim and Muslim jointly commit theft but the non-Muslim faces jail and the Muslim might lose his hand; and

> Other states would be “inspired” to enact hudud laws in the guise of “Syariah” laws.

Every state could end up having a parallel criminal justice system – with secular penalties passed by Parliament and hudud penalties enacted by the state legislature.

The PAS-led Government in Kelantan and Terengganu passed hudud laws in 1993 and 2002 but couldn’t enforce them because of limitations Parliament places on the Syariah Court as to what penalties it can impose for syariah criminal offences.

Then Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Norian Mai said after the law was passed in Terengganu that the police were governed by federal laws and could not be involved with criminal laws enacted by a state.

But that view could change.

Debate on Abdul Hadi’s Bill is to take place in October.

He is the only one who can withdraw the Bill. And there is no reason for him to do that.

The people want an end to the political shilly-shallying on this matter; there is no place here for hudud penalties, in the guise of enacting Syariah personal law for Muslims.

The Bill must be debated and rational and moderate MPs from all the parties must come together and end this matter once and for all.

Politicians must remember that they come and go. What is paramount is the Federal Constitution and the rights it guarantees to all citizens regardless of one’s religion.

The Federal Constitution must be here for the long run and not be messed about with for short-term political alliances and strategies or we will face a constitutional crisis.

The Star says

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