Shah Alam – Malaysia is not yet ready for hudud as its implementation now would only reinforce injustice and create disharmony in society, Islamic experts said today.
Former Perlis mufti Professor Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said Malaysia’s corrupt environment would allow society’s elite to escape hudud if it were enforced and this defeated the entire purpose of the law.
“I am worried that if we enforced hudud now, it would be like placing a beautiful palace door onto an old, dilapidated house.
“In a country where there are certain classes which are ‘untouchable’, cannot be brought to court, hudud cannot be implemented because it would not be fair,” said Asri at a forum titled “Hudud: Are we ready?” organised by Sinar Harian today.
Asri said during Prophet Muhammad’s time, he had told his followers that he would punish his own daughter under hudud if she was found guilty.
But Asri doubted such equality would be practised by the authorities here, given how the country ranked 53 in the World Corruption Perception Index 2013.
He said while Muslims should not reject hudud, its enforcement could be postponed until the time was right and the environment conducive.
He likened it to the performance of haj – Muslims were allowed to delay their pilgrimage as long as they did not have the means to perform it.
Another panellist, Dr Mushaddad Hasbullah, deputy director of the Wasatiyah Institute Malaysia, said there was no fairness in Malaysia if criminals were subjected to two different laws for committing the same crime because of their faith, as proposed by PAS.
“The purpose of hudud is to maintain peace and justice. But how will there be peace if a Muslim and non-Muslim commits robbery, the Muslim must have his hand cut off, but the non-Muslim can choose to be imprisoned for only a couple of months?
“I think in that case, even the Muslim, when caught, will declare that he is not Malay, but a Siamese,” said Mushaddad, drawing laughter from the audience.
He said that PAS’s proposal for hudud to be applicable only to Muslims was not only unfair, but contravened the opinion of Muslim jurists who ruled that certain aspects of hudud, such as the punishment for stealing, should be applied equally to non-Muslims.
Fellow panellist Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong, who is MCA deputy president, said MCA and the Chinese neither rejected Islam nor hudud, but only “PAS’s hudud”.
“I believe in Islam as the country’s official religion and we in MCA still defend Islam as the country’s official religion. So when we are opposing hudud, we are opposing the hudud that PAS wants, as detailed in the Kelantan Shariah Criminal Code Enactment II,” said Wee.
He said there were many anomalies in the enactment, which he jokingly told the audience had him confused for four days while he pored over it.
“For instance, in the case of rape. How are we to distinguish if an unmarried woman who became pregnant committed adultery, or was a victim of rape?
“She must then bring forth four male Muslim witnesses to prove that she was raped, otherwise it is assumed she committed adultery and must be flogged.”
But the final panellist, Kelantan Deputy Menteri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah, clarified that PAS’s main purpose in tabling the private members’ bill in Parliament was so that hudud would be recognised by the Federal Constitution.
He said its implementation was secondary and subject to further discussion among PAS leaders, as well as dialogues with the public.
“We want to put Islamic laws in its rightful place. We are talking about buying the car, not driving the car. What Asri is discussing is the car already being bought and committing multiple traffic violations,” said Amar.
“But let us make sure those laws exist and are recognised first. How we enforce it can come later, and is subject to many conditions and procedures.”
He also refuted Wee’s arguments that a rape victim had no other recourse but to rely on witnesses to prove she had been violated.
Amar said that with the absence of the four male witnesses, the rapist may escape hudud – but he could still be caught and charged under civil law.
“We haven’t written all the details in the enactment, because then it would end up being extremely long, complete with footnotes. We leave it to the wisdom and expertise of the judges to interpret and carry out hudud,” said Amar.
PAS has come under intense criticism after it revealed its intent to table a private member’s bill to allow hudud to be enforced in Kelantan.
The push for hudud could spell the end of the Pakatan Rakyat coalition, as DAP has urged its Islamist ally to leave the pact if it was determined to go ahead with its plans to enforce hudud in Kelantan. – TMI