Malaysia

As polls loom, PAS eyes staggered Islamic state rollout

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
December 01, 2010

Hadi said it was just a matter of letting Malaysian “understand” the Islamic state concept. — Picture by Jack OoiHadi said it was just a matter of letting Malaysian “understand” the Islamic state concept. — Picture by Jack OoiKUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 — Fully aware of the opposition to an Islamic state, PAS has insisted on pushing for such a state with hudud law to be implemented in “stages” if it wins the snap polls widely speculated for early next year.

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang admitted the concept had yet to gain significant traction among even Pakatan Rakyat (PR) component parties, but claimed that opposition towards the idea was only because there was a lack of “understanding” about the concept.

The veteran leader told The Malaysian Insider that the Islamist party would focus on introducing such laws in PAS-governed states like Kelantan and Kedah first, to allow Malaysians to “evaluate” the merits of Islamic and hudud law.

“It has to be done in stages. We will implement this stage by stage because we have to realise the first thing that needs to be understood is the word Islam itself. Islam cannot be defined as a religion because the word religion in itself does not fully define Islam.

Lim said DAP’s stand in the matter has been “consistent”.Lim said DAP’s stand in the matter has been “consistent”.“Islam is not just a religion but also a way of life, and it encompasses all aspects of daily life,” said Hadi in an exclusive interview with The Malaysian Insider this week.

Hadi then said that the federalism model practised by Malaysia would enable PAS to slowly enforce relevant Islamic and hudud laws in states which were currently under PAS.

“We have to realise that our states adopt the federalism approach whereby each state has its own jurisdiction. Naturally there would be PAS states, as well as PKR and DAP. If PAS gets a chance to show the true concept of Islam in ruling states like Kelantan and Kedah, and every Malaysian gets to witness the positive changes, this will allow us to build a country with that concept which is accepted by all.

“We don’t want a situation where the country is an Islamic state only by name but the message remains misunderstood. That is why it has to be done in stages,” said Hadi.

PR coalition partners, namely the DAP have consistently distanced itself from renewed talk of hudud law and the implementation of an Islamic state, saying that these were not PR policies.

DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang has repeatedly maintained that party’s stand on Malaysia as a secular state has always been “constant and consistent.”

“Hudud laws and [an] Islamic state are not Pakatan Rakyat policies. This is why there is no mention of these issues in the Pakatan Rakyat common platform unveiled at the PR convention in Shah Alam on December 19 last year,” said Lim in a statement on August 22 this year.

Renewed talks regarding the implementation of hudud laws and an Islamic state first started when DAP national chairman Karpal Singh stated that he was firmly opposed to such laws being implemented should PR take over the federal government.

Karpal had argued that such laws were “unconstitutional” and that everyone had to respect the constitution.

PAS spiritual advisor Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat claimed that Karpal was the only DAP leader raising the issue, adding that other leaders were silent on the matter.

According to Nik Aziz, Karpal’s views did not represent the views of DAP.

In the 1999 general election, the DAP together with PAS and PKR formed the Barisan Alternatif coalition, which collapsed after two years when DAP quit due to PAS’s objective of forming an Islamic state.

The unprecedented co-operation between DAP and PAS then resulted in the defeat of DAP’s strongmen Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh in Penang due to non-Muslim voters’ fear of the Islamic party

But Hadi claimed that Malaysians would eventually come to learn and appreciate hudud laws “in time”, arguing that it was Umno’s “secularist” teaching that did not make Malaysia a model country with Islamic teachings.

“What’s important is understanding. People will understand it (hudud laws) as time comes... What is happening today is that Umno has inherited the secularist teachings of the British which does not show a positive Islamic model,” added the Marang MP.