Zahid says Umno never rejected hudud, questions PAS’s sincerity


(Malay Mail Online) – Umno vice president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today maintained that his party which dominates government has never rejected PAS’s proposal to roll out Islamic penal law in Kelantan.

Zahid, also Malaysia’s home minister, asked if PAS was sincere in trying to implement hudud law after DAP leader Teresa Kok claimed the party had merely revived the idea to rebuild its support base among Malays.

“Umno had never rejected Hudud, in fact Umno had endorsed the proposal to implementation it which is a part of qat’ie (a requirement that cannot be questioned) as long as it is based on the teachings of Islam,” Zahid told reporters at a press conference.

“But the statement by Teresa gives a picture that PAS had only wanted to respond to Umno’s dare for its own political survival,” he added.

Zahid added that Umno “respects” the views of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who has openly opposed hudud.

Kok, who is MP for Seputeh, was quoted by news portal Malaysiakini  as saying that PAS is “taking the initiative to implement hudud to avoid losing Malay support”.

“If this is true then the Malays have been tricked by PAS through a political tactic to regain Malay support,” Zahid commented on the matter.

But the Umno vice-president refused to state if this means hia party will not support PAS’s bid to table the two Private Members Bills to have Parliament approve its push for hudud in Kelantan.

“I am only questioning if PAS is telling the truth,” he said.

Two weeks ago Umno president and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said his party will hear out PAS’s proposal on hudud after some leaders from the Islamist party expressed hope that lawmakers from Umno would help them pass the two Bills in Parliament.

The move came after PAS’s allies in Pakatan Rakyat objected to hudud laws being implemented.

But critics noted that Umno opposed plans to implement hudud when Mahathir was  the party’s president, and that the party’s sudden willingness to consider  backing the Islamic penal law is also aimed at wooing Malay support.

As debate on hudud raged on for the past few weeks, Mahathir again voiced his opposition to its implementation, arguing that the Islamic penal law was not suitable for a multiracial country like Malaysia.

Zahid refused to comment on the matter but said Umno “respects” Mahathir’s views.

In 1993, the PAS state government passed the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment II, allowing it to impose the strict Islamic penal code in the state. But the laws have not been implemented.

PAS is now looking for parliamentary approval to implement hudud. It plans to put forward two private members’ bills in parliament. One seeks approval for unconventional punishments, some of which are for offences already covered in the Penal code.The the other seeks to empower Shariah courts to mete out the unconventional punishments.

According to the Shariah Courts (Criminal) Jurisdiction Act 1965, the Islamic court cannot sentence offenders to more than three years in jail or fine them more than RM 5,000. It also cannot sentence offenders to be whipped more than 6 times.