Lisa J. Ariffin, The Malaysian Insider
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 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.