Amid hudud row, Pakatan meets to contain fallout


(Malay Mail Online) – Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders are meeting today to give PAS the opportunity to explain its renewed plans to implement hudud law in Kelantan in an effort to contain the fallout from a very public spat between the Islamist party and DAP.

DAP has said the Islamist party should consider leaving the opposition coalition if PAS insists on imposing the controversial Islamic penal law in Kelantan.

Hudud law is not part of PR’s manifesto but the alliance will be weakened if PAS strikes out on its own.

The Malay Mail Online understands that the PR leaders attending the closed-door meeting today include PAS’ Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah and Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man and DAP’s Liew Chin Tong and Teresa Kok.

“Yes we are meeting today, leaders from PAS, PKR, DAP. Meeting will be at PAS HQ. I am on the way there,” Mohd Amar told The Malay Mail Online when contacted.

PAS, DAP and PKR together make up the PR coalition.

The Kelantan deputy mentri besar said PAS would use the opportunity to explain to its PR partners why they should allow Kelantan to go ahead and with hudud law.

“On my part, it will be expressing the Kelantan government’s position on the issue, we hope to explain things in a calm manner, to make our friends get a better picture.

“There is always room for discussion,” the PAS leader added.

PAS created a storm nationwide with its proposal to push two private members’ bills at the next Dewan Rakyat sitting to finally allow it to roll out the Islamic criminal justice system by next year.

The Islamist party also seeks to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal) Jurisdiction Act 1965 to enable the Islamic court the right to mete out the death penalty and amputations.

The Act limits the Shariah courts to jail sentences of not more than three years in jail, six strokes of whipping, and fines not exceeding RM5,000.

Mohd Amar has said that both bills did not seek to amend Malaysia’s constitution, which requires a two-thirds majority vote in the Dewan Rakyat before it can become legislation.

Criminal cases are currently handled by the conventional court system, while the Shariah court’s jurisdiction covers personal law, family law, as well as laws against the precepts of Islam, like “khalwat”, or close proximity, for Muslims.

The new federal law ― which PAS will lay out in parliament to enable the Shariah Court to punish Muslim criminals ― covers murder, causing hurt, rape, sodomy, theft and robbery, all of which are currently offences under the Penal Code.

Conceding they were unlikely to receive any support from PR allies, PAS leaders have turned to political foe, Umno for support.

The PR Islamist party claimed Umno minister Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom had challenged them to lay out the hudud proposal in parliament.

Previous attempts by PAS to put forth similar bills have been blocked by the BN-dominated Parliament. MPs have never voted on the issue.

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 with Umno more open to PAS’s bid this time around, the thorny issue of hudud may last awhile yet.