(The Malaysian Insider) - Umno is promoting religious extremism by pushing for the enforcement of hudud or the Islamic criminal code for all citizens instead of just Muslims, the DAP’s Lim Guan Eng said today.
The secular party’s secretary-general was defending criticism levelled by the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition’s component parties MCA and Gerakan, which have persistently taken potshots at the DAP for allying itself with PAS, an openly Islamic-centric party.
“DAP and PAS can and should co-operate for the future of Malaysians on common principles that unite us as compared to continue to benefit BN by allowing these differences to divide us.
“Despite these differences, both DAP and PAS have a common stand in fighting corruption and abuse of power as well as establishing integrity in leadership focusing on competency, accountability and transparency,” Lim said in a statement.
He said both parties, which have formed an opposition pact with PKR called Pakatan Rakyat (PR) since winning Election 2008 as a counterweight to the ruling BN, have agreed on a welfare state to protect the poor, destitute, sick and those who need help.
Lim said the policies were clearly spelt out in an agreement signed by all three parties in PR and that their common manifesto for the 13th general election makes no mention of an Islamic state or enforcing hudud at the federal level.
He said this was in stark contrast to Umno leaders nationwide who recently backed a Johor Umno politician’s call to implement hudud in the southern state.
The strict Islamic penal code, which provides for hands to be chopped off for thieving, among other crimes, has been passed as law enforceable on Muslims in Kelantan where PAS holds power, and also in Terengganu.
Lim, who is also Penang chief minister, said PAS has taken the more enlightened approach that there should be no ban on the use of the word “Allah” to refer to God in a non-Muslim context, in a barbed reference to the federal government’s application to overturn a 2010 High Court ruling allowing Christians free use of the word.
Putrajaya has also confiscated hundreds of Malay-language bibles containing the word “Allah”, citing national security, triggering a huge controversy and raising tensions between multicultural Malaysia’s dominant Muslim community and the minority Christians, who make up just under 10 per cent of the 28 million population in the last two years. The federal government has since returned the impounded books.
Lim also said the BN had also “destroyed Hindu temples” in Penang and Selangor from before 2008 to as recent as this year.
“In other words, Umno is more extreme in wanting to implement hudud for all compared to PAS who wants to see hudud implemented only on Muslims,” the Bagan MP said.
The powerful BN has been persistently bidding to drive a wedge between the DAP and PAS in the run-up to key national polls that could see a regime change in Malaysia for the first time since independence in 1957.