Karpal says to sue PAS’s Nash in hudud row
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 17 — Karpal Singh said today he will sue Nasharudin Mat Isa for defamation after the renegade former PAS No. 2 appeared this week to side with Umno by pressing his party to leave Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and accusing the DAP leader of being against Islam.
The DAP national chairman told The Malaysian Insider that the former PAS deputy president’s remarks about him yesterday “are highly irresponsible and mischievous”, and that “I have never spoken against Islam”.
However, the fiery lawyer stressed that hudud law cannot be implemented in the country as “hudud can only be applied in an Islamic state” while Malaysia remained a secular country.
“Time and time again I have said I respect Islam as the official religion of the country,” Karpal (picture) said when contacted.
“What DAP have been saying is we are not for an Islamic state. That is just a political concept,” he added.
Umno leaders and its Utusan Malaysia newspaper have in the past week accused the DAP of being “kafir harbi”, or belligerent infidels, declaring it “haram” or forbidden for Muslims to support the secular PR party.
Karpal is a lightning rod for Umno attacks because of his strong opposition to hudud.
The DAP veteran said today he hoped Nasharudin would “understand the difference between Islam (as a religion) and Islamic state”.
“Our constitution provides for a secular state, and in Malaysia it is secular law which applies. You must have an Islamic state before we can have hudud law,” he said.
“I’m not saying PAS is wrong, but we cannot apply hudud because ours is a secular state. Our law doesn’t allow it,” he reiterated.
Karpal believed Nasharudin was expressing his personal views on the matter and was not speaking on behalf of his party.
“In view of the seriousness of his statement, I’m filing a defamation suit against him.”
Nasharudin said yesterday that “Karpal Singh is not only against hudud but also against Islam”, adding that as a lawyer, Karpal should know that the implementation of the Islamic penal code required high standards of proof.
“For some offences, proof beyond any shadow of doubt is required. But he (Karpal) rejects all this just because it is an Islamic law,” Nasharudin said.
The discontent in PAS against Nasharudin grew this week following his remarks calling for the party to leave the PR opposition pact if the DAP continues to oppose hudud. The news was broadcast on TV3’s prime time news slot Buletin Utama earlier this week.
His comment is seen to run counter to the party’s official stand, made by PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang and carried by Harakah this week.
Hadi had written an article to explain how the Islamist party could co-operate with the secular DAP despite their different political ideologies as they shared a common aim.
The DAP may be opposed to hudud but Umno has rejected the Islamic penal code, Hadi said, as he defended his PR ally that had come under relentless attacks from rival leaders and religious hawks in the run-up to crucial national polls.
Pointing out the position of PR parties, he said that “just as DAP cannot force PAS members to consume alcohol or pork, PAS too cannot prevent DAP members from consuming alcohol or pork”.
“The PAS constitution compels us to sack any member who consumes alcohol or pork. The Umno constitution does not compel the sacking of its members for drinking with the MCA, MIC and Gerakan,” Hadi said.
Several conservative Islamic muftis and religious scholars had dubbed the DAP a party full of “kafir harbi” and told Malaysia’s dominant Muslim voters that it is “haram” or forbidden to support it at the 13th general election that must be called by next April.
“In reality, this term ‘hudud’ has returned and been made an electoral issue by Umno to create conflict among the people, without feeling responsibility towards Islam’s pure guidance,” the PAS president said in the article.
He noted that the DAP has been portrayed as a party opposed to hudud by the mainstream media controlled by the BN government, when it was Umno ― the ruling coalition’s mainstay ― that has rejected the enforcement of the Islamic penal code.
In his article titled “Hudud: DAP Menentang, Umno Menolaknya (Hudud: DAP Opposes, Umno Rejects)”, Hadi said that there were no issues with PAS working with the secular party even though the DAP has repeatedly stated that it will not brook the creation of an Islamic state or support the enforcement of the religious criminal code that prescribes, among others, the amputation of hands for theft.