Hudud: Another cleavage for Malaysians


Though “unconstitutional”, the bill that is expected to be tabled in June would lead to lawmakers voting along divisive religious lines

K Pragalath, FMT

The hudud bill is expected to create more divisions within various communities in Malaysia in the event it is passed during the next Parliament session in June.

“It will create another cleavage among the communities. There would be two legal systems in Kelantan. As it is there are policies distinguishing people based on race classification.”

“This hudud bill would make things worse for all,” said associate professor in law, Azmi Sharom.

The Universiti Malaya associate professor said this when asked to comment on the possible ramification in the event the private bill on hudud is passed in parliament.

Minister in Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Islamic affairs, Jamil Khir Baharom announced that the federal government would support private bills from states to implement hudud.

Following that, Kelantan Menteri Besar Ahmad Yakob announced plans to table a private bill in Parliament. Kelantan already has an enactment in place in 1993: the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Court Enactment II.

From legal perspective, Azmi said that the bill, if passed, would contravene Schedule 9 and Article 8 of the Federal Constitution and is therefore unconstitutional.

“Schedule 9 states clearly that criminal laws can only be passed by the parliament. State laws are not empowered to do so. Article 8 on equality does not state that one can be differentiated based on race and religion,” he said.

He added that the Federal Constitution has to be amended to enable the bill to be passed.

From a political perspective he said that Muslim MPs would be expected to vote in support of the hudud bill.

“If Muslim MPs don’t vote in favor of the bill, it will make them look like kafir (infidels). They (Umno) know that the bill will split Pakatan Rakyat,” he said.

DAP has 38 MPs of whom two are Muslims. While the official stand is to oppose hudud, both the Muslim MPs – Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari and Raub MP Mohd Sabri Abdul Aziz have yet to make a stand on the matter.