Implement hudud first, refinement can come later, says Kelantan deputy MB

Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah

(Malay Mail Online) – Kelantan should first implement hudud before refining the controversial laws, Kelantan Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah insisted today.

According to Mohd Amar, Kelantan must first implement hudud to put fear into the public and deter them from committing crime, instead of waiting for a “utopia” in, which criminals would have no excuse to commit any crime.

“We need to have the punishments first,” Mohd Amar told a forum on hudud here, insisting that the current enactment passed by the state government is toothless without the power to enforce it.

He quoted an Islamic scholar who compared hudud to a caning stick,, which if displayed in a house, would strike fear in children and stop them from misbehaving.

“If we want to wait for a perfect condition, the utopia, we will not find that,” he added.

Moderator Dr Maszlee Malik however pointed out that utopian conditions — such as a low crime rate — already exist in countries where Muslims are not the majority and hudud is not even implemented.

Mohd Amar disagreed, saying that Saudi Arabia has a low crime rate, compared to Western countries, which have high incidences of rape and baby dumping.

He gave no data or evidence to back his bald claims.

The deputy mentri besar also admitted that the infrastructure to implement hudud in Kelantan is not fully ready, despite Kelantan shariah courts’ claim otherwise late last year.

“Mentally, the Kelantan folks are ready to accept its implementation. That is why they gave their trust to an Islamic party since the 1990s,” he said.

“In terms of infrastructure, there are some we have prepared, and there are some in the process of completion. And there are some which will be added in the period of a year.”

However, former Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainal Abidin claimed that the environment for hudud is not yet ready, as it would allow those in the elite circles to escape the severe punishments.

“My fear if we enforce hudud now is that, it would be‎ like placing a beautiful door fit for a palace onto a dilapidated house,” said the prominent religious scholar.

“In such a country where some classes are ‘untouchable’ and cannot be brought to court, it would not be fair to implement hudud.”

Mohd Asri’s remark echoed Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who said last week that Malaysia does not have the right institutions in place to implement hudud.

Anwar insisted that there should not be any talk on implementing hudud as long as the judiciary itself lacks independence.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak also insisted last month that while the ruling coalition does not reject hudud, it does not believe that now is the right time to implement it.

In 1993, the PAS state government passed the Kelantan Shariah 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 RM5,000. It also cannot sentence offenders to be whipped more than six times.