Hudud row: PKR, PAS move to contain damage

The Pakatan Rakyat allies say their fight as a whole is to uphold the Federal Consitution.

(Free Malaysia Today) – PKR and PAS have moved to contain the damage over the hudud debacle, saying both parties will continue to respect the agreement reached among the three Pakatan Rakyat component parties – that the implementation of the Islamic law was never part of its Common Policy Framework (CPF).

PKR vice-president Chua Tian Chang said he believed PAS had the democratic right “to fight for its own causes”, be it for the implementation of hudud or an Islamic state, but Pakatan as a whole has agreed that the fight remains strictly to upholding the current Federal Constitution.

This means there was never an agreement by all the three allies to the idea of establishing an Islamic state or implementing hudud.

“We have never shifted from our original position, that is, to respect the Federal Constitution,” Chua told FMT.

He was responding to a statement made by DAP chairman Karpal Singh yesterday. The Batu Gelugor MP, a staunch secularist, had called for a top-level emergency meeting to iron out the contentious issue of hudud and the Islamic state “once and for all”.

Any delay in addressing the matter would adversely affect public confidence in Pakatan, especially among the non-Muslim votes, Karpal said.
The Islamic state and hudud issue again made headlines when Kelantan Menteri Besar and PAS adviser Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat declared the PAS state government’s intention to implement hudud law in the east coast state.

He also said that PAS had not abandoned its goal of setting up an Islamic state and reportedly told the DAP to leave the coalition if it did not support the controversial law that prescribes stoning, whipping and amputation as punishment for criminal offences.

Political fodder

Karpal was the only Pakatan leader who has been vocal about the matter in the past.

While Pakatan leaders were keen on avoiding the issue, Karpal told some 1,000 participants at the bloc’s convention in Penang last year that it was best that the coalition thoroughly ironed out the hudud and Islamic state issues to make clear Pakatan’s stand on the matter so as to avoid any manipulation by its political rivals.

The issue has been raised cyclically as political fodder as its divisive nature often causes conflicts to occur within otherwise-friendly circles, making it ideal to pit parties with opposing ideologies against one another.

PAS vice-president Mahfuz Omar said that to avoid further infighting on the issue, it was best that all parties refrain from making open statements to the press.

“PAS has no problem with going to the discussion table to clear this out, but I urge all parties to refrain from going to the press,” he told FMT in response to Karpal’s call for an emergency meeting.