Time to lay the cards on the table
MAY 16 — I think Pakatan Rakyat would do well to come to a consensus involving the hudud. Apart from DAP and PAS, I haven’t heard any decisive statement from PKR in that respect.
And if PAS doesn’t mind, could they please outline the proposed hudud law in their election manifesto so that we know what to expect, should we vote for them in the next general election? As it is now, everything is speculative as to what they mean by hudud. Are you talking about the version of hudud that involves chopping off hands, beheading and stoning people to death?
Let us assume that you march into Putrajaya in the next general election and manage to get PKR and DAP to amend the Federal Constitution and make this religious matter a federal one, how will you do it? Does it mean there won’t be any prison time for Muslims? Does it mean Muslims will not be tried in a criminal court but a syariah one? And pray tell, how would you determine a big crime from a small one — stealing anything less than RM100 costs one finger, and anything above we take it from there? How do you put a price on that?
Where will rape victims find, beforehand mind you, the four witnesses with good standing that you require to convict someone of a rape?
Looking for witnesses is one thing, those of good standing is another. And even if you manage to find them, would you want them there witnessing it to convict someone, or should they act to protect a life?
Will it be standardised in all states? What will happen if the crime committed involves a multiracial gang? What if the victim and perpetrator are of different religions?
Can we expect more “moral police” in the country to police the Muslims instead of our men in blue? Who will train them and will it involve taxpayers’ money?
We live in the 21st century and the days when government knows best is over. It is not enough to say “We will carry out hudud laws if we get elected” without giving out more details. Which version will you carry out? And since only the punishments for adultery and for stealing are mentioned in the Quran, what about the rest of the crimes?
As Islam is a religion that is widely interpreted, and encourages debate with differing opinions, which scholar will you follow? Remember there are scholars who want to ban cucumbers and carrots in the supermarket, as well as those supporting suicide bombers in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
I ask because I don’t know and as someone who will vote along party lines, I am one of the 30 per cent of registered Malaysian voters who have yet to make up my mind.
Before anyone starts accusing me of disrespecting Islam, on the contrary, I respect the religion, but do not want it hijacked by politicians. Hudud, or any other laws that will directly or indirectly affect me, has to be spelled out before I cast my vote in this coming election. As it is now, religion is a state matter but should they get my vote and form a majority in Parliament, they may just decide to change the Constitution and make it into a federal one.
I’m not sure about the rest, but I do not want a law that claims to be religious and God ordained but interpreted by imperfect men, to be mocked and laughed by the society when it comes into effect. For instance, the case involving a rapist who was acquitted because the victim couldn’t produce four witnesses.
That wasn’t God who came up with such a rule, but the result of shallow interpretation of men. Islam is always about justice, fairness, upholding rights of the victims, universality, but where is justice in the case mentioned above?
Perhaps our politicians would do well to remember that Malaysia is not a theological, but a secular state and a Parliamentary democracy. Any attempt or intention to change that must be made known before the campaigning for votes.
None of the countries that practise hudud are prosperous, developed and respected, so why join them?
Some say we need better laws to curb the rise of crime and hudud may just be the answer. To me, the crime rates were off the charts not because our laws are not punitive and preventive enough but we lack the enforcement. We also oppose the implementation of hudud not because it is Islamic but because we will have problems standardising it, implementing it, and then there is the real risk of injustice against Muslims later.
Unless you dare claim we have a perfect, non-partisan judicial system in place there is always room for error. That admission alone is enough to keep hudud away from our shores.
You do not need hudud to rid the country of corruption, empower the judiciary, and put out better enforcement agencies to uphold the law. Nor do you need hudud to make Muslims fearful of God and more pious. Hudud won’t bring about a more equitable, just and law abiding society either. You only need intelligent, honest and clean leaders to do all that.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist