Hudud was never vote bait, Kit Siang tells PAS


(Malay Mail Online) – With PAS adamant on pushing on with hudud in Kelantan, DAP told its Pakatan Rakyat (PR) partner that the controversial Islamic penal law has never helped the Islamist party win support.

Instead, DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang painted scenarios in which PAS’s insistence on the Islamic penal code would have alienated non-Malay support for a pittance more in Malay votes, with possibly disastrous consequence for the PR pact the two form together with PKR.

Lim noted that the hudud issue failed to help PAS retain Terengganu that it held only for a single term, asserting that it was voter discontent with Barisan Nasional that allowed the party to seize power in the state in 1999 before losing it back to BN in 2004.

“Is this not an indication that voters in Terengganu were placing more importance on other issues rather than the implementation of hudud?” Lim said in a statement today.

Among others, PAS previously asserted that its continued hold on power in Kelantan was indicative of the public’s support for its plan to finally enforce the Syariah Criminal Code Enactment that is passed in 1993.

The Gelang Patah MP went on to assert that hudud would only have netted PAS just 1 per cent more in Malay votes in Election 2013, at the drastic consequences for the larger PR pact.

“Judging from the 1999 GE, where the non-Malay vote would have otherwise turned against the BN if the BN was not so successful in painting the image that a vote for the then Barisan Alternatif was a vote to support an Islamic state, Pakatan’s support for hudud may have decreased non-Malay support for Pakatan by between 10 [and] 20 per cent,” he said.

Lim went on to claim that this projected drop-off in support would have cost the pact as many as 43 of the 89 federal seats it managed to wrest away from Barisan Nasional in Election 2013, with PKR the worst hit.

The DAP stalwart also asserted that hudud would have lopped off enough votes from the non-Malays as to possibly led to the pact losing Selangor along with Kedah that fell back into BN rule last year.

The gains made in the so-called Umno bastion of Johor would also not have taken place, he added, with PR only able to keep hold of Penang due to the overwhelming support for DAP and PKR there. PAS has a single state seat in Penang, versus DAP’s 19 and the 10 won by PKR.

“If hudud had been a hot controversial issue in the 13th General Election on May 5, 2013, the Barisan Nasional would not only have regained its two-thirds parliamentary majority to re delineate electoral constituencies at will…

“The hudud issue has never been and will never be a vote winner for PAS based on past electoral evidence,” Lim said.

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.

PAS announced plans this month to introduce two private members’ bills in Parliament to allow it to enforce hudud in Kelantan.

But in doing so, it again resurrected the on-and-off conflict between DAP and PAS that dates back to the 1990s and which had kept the two from co-operating for decades.

PAS’s attempt to push for hudud is not new. Previous attempts by PAS to table similar bills have been blocked by the BN-dominated Parliament and have never been voted on.

In all previous attempts, PAS had been frustrated by BN tactics to prevent any vote by employing a “talking out” tactic where BN MPs have been allowed to speak for an extended period of time to prevent such private members’ bills from even being debated. The filibuster-style tactic was frequently used when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was still prime minister.

But Umno in recent times has openly expressed support for PAS’s latest bid, even as the Islamist parties allies outwardly reject or remain non-committal to its professed goals.