Soi Lek: Umno’s religious obligations almost guarantees backing for hudud bill

Chua Soi Lek

(MM) – Even without support from its political allies, PAS could win Parliament’s nod for its hudud bills as some Umno MPs “will not be able to object” to them due to religious obligations, Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said.

Dr Chua, the former MCA president who led his party’s anti-hudud campaign during last year’s federal polls, pointed out that if rivals PAS and Umno join forces and earn the backing of just three Muslim MPs from Pakatan Rakyat (PR), the attempt by PAS to introduce the Islamic law in Kelantan will come to fruition.

“We must understand that some Umno MPs because of the religious factor, will not be able to object but to support the Bill,” Dr Chua said in a statement here.

He pointed out that PAS and Umno currently have a total of 109 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat, which makes them just short of three votes to pass the proposed bills on hudud. According to Dr Chua, the bills only need votes from 112 lawmakers.

“There are 2 Muslim MPs in DAP, there are also Muslim MPs in PKR, what are their stand? Will they object against the implementation of hudud? If they do not dare to object, the Bill will definitely be passed in Parliament.”

The two Muslim MPs in DAP are Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari and Raub MP Datuk Mohamad Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz.

Out of 30 PKR MPs, 16 are Muslims.

Dr Chua, who helmed the Chinese-majority party between 2010 and 2013, said that MCA must establish a firm stand on the matter and inform Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak of its opposition to hudud.

He then blamed his successors in the party for not daring to stand up to Umno for fear of losing the support from its Barisan Nasional (BN) ally in their constituencies.

“The current MCA leadership seems to be self-serving, they only think about their political and support for the Muslim voters,” the former Labis MP added.

“They should not just talk but it’s time to walk the talk and act that MCA is different from DAP in fighting against PAS’ Hudud.”

Dr Chua’s concern comes as PAS leaders admitted today that the Islamist party will have to turn to its political foes in Umno to push through the bill.

PAS’ Pokok Sena MP Datuk Mahfuz Omar said that a minister — with the support of 15 MPs — could easily give priority to the two private members bills — which will push for the implementation of an Islamic criminal justice system in Kelantan — to be debated in Parliament before government business.

In addition, the minister in charge of religious affairs, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, had previously said that Putrajaya is ready to give the green light to any state wishing to implement hudud.

Umno’s Ketereh MP, Tan Sri Annuar Musa, had earlier this month stated that he would be lobbying his fellow party members to ensure the implementation of hudud in his state.

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad also commented last week that PAS’s bid to get parliamentary approval for Kelantan to enforce the controversial Islamic hudud laws puts both Umno and DAP in an embarrassing position.

PAS MPs are looking to table two private members’ bill to seek parliamentary permission to implement the Syariah Criminal Code Enactment that was passed by the Kelantan state assembly in 1993.

In Islamic jurisprudence, hudud covers crimes such as theft, robbery, adultery, rape, sodomy, making unproven accusations of adultery, causing physical hurt, drinking intoxicants, apostasy, and acts contrary to Islamic belief.

The law is generally confined to Muslims, but can extend to non-Muslims if they are involved in aiding or abetting an offence committed by a Muslim.