Using hudud card to rally support

Realising that Barisan Nasional is making strides with Malay support, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is now openly embracing hudud law in support of PAS’ ambition. His move may cost him the votes of non-Malays and moderate Muslims.


AGAINST great risk of losing the support from non-Malay voters, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has come out to endorse hudud law in Kelantan, backing PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat’s plan to implement the law and set up an Islamic state in the state.

The Opposition Leader’s backing, although he said was in his personal capacity, is hugely different from his earlier commitment to religious pluralism and a multi-ethnic, secular society governed by secular, man-made laws.

The sudden change in attitude is a recognition on the part of PKR and PAS that they are rapidly losing Malay support with their concession to and dalliance with non-Malays, especially the Chinese voters.

This recognition had slowly dawned on them but was accelerated by the “Mat Sabu” incident in which PAS deputy president Mohamed Sabu has come under persistent fire for saying that the 26 policemen and their families who died defending the Bukit Kepong police station in 1950 against a band of communists led by Mat Indera, were not the real heroes.

The real heroes are Mat Indera and his communist band, Mat Sabu had claimed.

The incident has riled up many Malays and over 1,000 police reports were made.

Mat Sabu might have been charged for criminal defamation, but the case has strongly moved the Malay emotion and has become a rallying point against PAS.

No senior PAS leader has come to the defence of Mat Sabu who was left to manage the crisis on his own.

Umno has used the Mat Sabu case as a national rallying point whipping up strong reaction against him and PAS, accusing them as unpatriotic and showing little respect for the nation’s founding fathers, Tunku Abdul Rahman and Datuk Onn Jaafar.

Constant reminders in the mainstream media that PAS had abandoned Islam and that it better drop the word “Islam” from its name has begun to rattle the party as well.

It is true that the party had abandoned its Islamic state policy for a welfare state at its last muktamar in July.

It also went on to elect Mat Sabu, a non-ulama who doesn’t wear a turban and Arabic clothes, to its second highest elected office.

DAP especially was overjoyed with the way things had turned out at the PAS muktamar. But now that Anwar has sided with Nik Aziz on hudud, it has been left holding a time bomb in its lap.

DAP chairman Karpal Singh has always pointed out that hudud law was unconstitutional and the Federal Constitution would have to be amended to implement it.

That’s why although the hudud law was passed in Kelantan and later in Terengganu, they were never implemented without the Federal Government’s active support.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said on Thursday that the Federal Government would not implement hudud law as Malaysian society was not ready for it and investors would get worried.

It appears that Anwar, after years of preaching pluralism and Islamic moderation has come out in support of hudud law in Kelantan saying it was clear and would administer justice for their intended purposes.

It is a blow to all Anwarites. Both PAS and PKR are now seeking to win over the Malays with this sudden and fundamental change in policy towards hudud.

After four years, they now realise that only DAP would stand to benefit from their dalliance with the non-Malays.

But it is too late in the day to reverse track and try to appease the fundamentalist Malays with the promise of an Islamic state.

By coming out in support of hudud they are also alienating many Ma­­lays who oppose the law and had supported PKR’s multi-racialism.

That section of support for PKR is also now in danger with Anwar’s readiness to embrace hudud law in Kelantan.

The nation was founded on one set of secular laws and only one.

To introduce another set, no matter if it does not involve non-Muslims, is a radical move without precedent and will significantly impact on every facet of our life.

DAP, which has championed secular law, must come out in the open now and state whether it too supports hudud on the grounds that it does not involved non-Muslims.

What about the moderate Muslims who oppose hudud but support DAP?

The issue is fundamental and sits at the core of the relationship among Pakatan Rakyat parties.

Can they run and carry a theological party like PAS whose only ambition is to create an Islamic state?

Nik Aziz has made himself very clear on the matter. He is all for hudud law in Kelantan and when Pakatan Rakyat captures the country, for all of Malaysia.

That has been the pillar of PAS’ struggle since the party’s inception in 1951.

Politicians are ruled by political expediency and Anwar is no different. Realising that he is losing crucial Malay support, Anwar is forced to come out to endorse hudud law and support Nik Aziz’s plan in Kelantan, leaving DAP out in the cold.