NEWS

Seeing through the hudud controversy

Liew Chin Tong

Published
Modified 23 Mar 2015, 4:18 am

MP SPEAKS First of all let me stress that Muslims have the right to believe in hudud law. I respect that right, as much as I believe Muslims respect the rights of people of other faiths.

However in the case of the Kelantan hudud enactment, it is more than just a legal matter but rather as a political ploy meant to eliminate the progressives in PAS and to break Pakatan Rakyat in the process.

Worse than that, albeit unintentionally, the bickering and anger arising from the fiery emotional arguments could tear the nation apart.

The end game for those who designed the plot is to draw the battle line along a ‘Muslims versus non-Muslims’ conflict.

We are in an extraordinary time that requires extra careful understanding of the situation. We must see through the grand design and defeat the plot.

Put it plainly, the current hudud rush is being designed by Umno and the pro-Umno leaders in PAS to be a religious conflict. To thwart this we must unite the most number of Muslims and non-Muslims on commonly acceptable positions.  

Why the rush?

The hudud move essentially began with a challenge by Md Alwi Che Ahmad ( left ), Umno assemblyperson for Kok Lanas (who ‘cried joyfully’ at the tabling of the hudud enactment in Kelantan recently), in the state assembly in March 2014 that the hudud enactment should be implemented.

Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Jamil Khir told Parliament on March 27, 2014 that Umno would support a private member’s bill if it is brought to the federal parliament.

After rounds of ‘joint technical committee’ meetings between the federal government and the Kelantan state government, the latter announced in a hush hush manner that a bill would be tabled in the state assembly on Dec 29, 2014 but the Great Flood of Kelantan prevented it from happening.

The passing of the hudud enactment on March 19, 2015 would not end there. It will be more intense in the months to come with PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill as the PAS election heats up.

Interests of two groups

The hudud plot serves the interests of two groups.

First, the pro-Umno leaders in PAS would be able to enhance their Islamic credential vis-à-vis the pro-Pakatan group in the upcoming party election in June 2015.

It is important to note that PAS divisional meetings which would choose the delegates to the June muktamar are being held between March 1 and April 24, 2015.

The media debate and attention on hudud serve the pro-Umno group well so that they could tell the party grassroots that it is much better to work with an ‘Islamic’ Umno than an ‘infidel’ DAP.

As the pro-Umno leaders are not confident of winning at the muktamar, breaking up Pakatan before the June muktamar would mean their nemesis the pro-Pakatan leaders within PAS would lose their raison d’etre even before June.

Second,  Umno is to gain the most from the collapse of Pakatan Rakyat. From what I gathered, Umno strategists believe that the jailing of Anwar Ibrahim and Pakatan Rakyat’s destruction would mean Umno would be in an unassailable position without an alternative to replace the grand old party.

Such an advantagous position is neccesary with the introduction of the unpopular goods and services tax (GST) on April 1, 2015, exposes on Najib Abdul Razak-linked scandals, heightening of Umno’s internal battle, and declining economic fortune.  

If one follows the thinking of the pro-Umno group in PAS and also the hardliners in Umno, the anti-democracy streak is unmistakeably clear. To this group, a ‘PAS-Umno’ alliance means there is no need for real elections any longer. To them, this nation belongs to the Malays/Muslims, democracy is inconvenient and troublesome.

The question for all Malaysians to ponder upon is whether we still treat PAS as a single coherent entity or to acknowledge that the pro-Umno group is plotting to push the nation to the brink and to eliminate elections altogether.

Like the Umno party election, the PAS election is affecting national politics in a way previously not seen and yet to be understood. It deserves as much national attention as Umno party election. All Malaysians need to take these into consideration when reacting to such extraordinary scenarios.

This is not a religious doctrinal issue, it is political expediency.


LIEW CHIN TONG is DAP director of political education and MP for Kluang.

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