Hudud goes against Federal Constitution, say panellists at forum

(The Star) – There are numerous factors to consider before hudud law can be implemented in the country, chiefly that Malaysia is not an Islamic state, said lawyer Syahredzan Johan.

“There are so many factors about hudud that go against the constitution and considering the fact that Malaysia is actually not an Islamic state, the constitution is the highest law,” said the lawyer, who was one of the panellists at a public forum on Hudud at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Friday.

The forum, titled “Hudud@Malaysia?”, organised by Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia, saw an attendance of close to 200 people.

Lasting four hours, the forum started off with moderator Zaid Kamaruddin (picture) putting forward the general opinion of Malaysians about hudud.

“With regard hudud, the one thing that lingers in everyone’s head is the harshness of the punishments. But they often disregard that with Syariah leading the way, hudud is only imposed on serious crimes.

“Hudud or ‘had’, which means limits, is only imposed for adultery, alcohol, theft, highway robbery and apostasy,” Zaid, who is Ikram’s honourary secretary, said.

PAS’s Sepang MP Hanipa Maidin, during his presentation, stated that despite the party seeking to table a Private Members’ Bill to implement hudud in Kelantan, it had no intention of widening the law to the entire country.

“Whatever said and done, we need to have the mandate in order to implement a law. As such and thus far, we have been given the mandate for Kelantan by the people themselves.

“Technically speaking, the mandate was given and endorsed by the people, therefore I do not see any reason to call this decision undemocratic,” he said, adding that Muslims would prefer an Islamic law such as hudud to deal with crime.

Hanipa however, said that PAS respected the opinions of others and is for democracy.

Islamic Renaissance Front Director, Ahmad Farouk Musa argued that a law for Muslims alone was unconstitutional.

“Confining a law to only Muslims is unconstitutional as there is inequality,” he said, adding that the eternal message of Islam was justice and equality.

Farouk stated that countries like Netherlands and Norway barely had crime as they focussed on correction and not punishment.

“Therefore instead of spending money to send people to Brunei to learn about hudud, why not invest some time and money into learning good governance as the application of Syariah in this day an age does not make sense,” he said.

Syahredzan, in his presentation, said that until and unless people understand that the implementation of hudud concerned everyone, Malaysia would not be able to achieve true unity.

Explaining the challenges of implementing the law, Syahredzan said criminal jurisdiction is decided by Parliament and that no Syariah Court can decide or impose anything more than what is stated in laws enacted by Parliament.

Also present at the forum was Save Sarawak’s Rivers Legal Advisor Abun Sui Anyit, who stated that he believed hudud to be impractical.

The audience throughout the forum was active and responsive with some eight participants coming forward to share their opinions and question the panellists.