Hudud saga a harvest season for political hypocrites


The bill is going to put the religiosity of the Muslim MPs to test. Some of them are already readying their script to defend and justify their decision. 

Khoo Kay Peng, The Ant Daily

PAS’ ambition to implement the hudud law in Kelantan is the most divisive stand ever taken by a coalition party in Pakatan Rakyat. While it is almost certain that most of PAS’ Members of Parliament (MPs) are going to vote for the Private Member’s Bill on hudud, it is still a tall order for PAS to obtain absolute support from its coalition partners.

However, the vote is going to put tremendous pressure on the 18 Muslim MPs in Pakatan not from PAS – 16 from PKR and two from DAP. Most of them are going to weigh the pros and cons of their decision to vote for or against the bill.

For those who are contesting in non-Malay Muslim constituencies, the natural political survival instinct is to vote against the bill. It is not enough to just abstain from taking a vote. For those who are representing majority Malay Muslim constituencies, it would be suicidal to vote against the bill. It would be more catastrophic if they needed the support of PAS grassroots to put them into Parliament.

Mohd AriffDAP’s Muslim MPs would have to vote according to the collective decision made by the party. DAP’s Raub MP Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz said he is obligated to support hudud law because of his religion but will still not back PAS’ Private Member’s Bill on the matter.

“I don’t support your bill therefore I am not a good Muslim or even an infidel? I don’t agree with you does not mean I lack faith,” he wrote on his blog. Mohd Ariff Sabri opines that the reality is the country’s secular constitution and if PAS wants to implement hudud law it must first push for a new Islamic constitution.

Clearly, the bill is going to put the religiosity of the Muslim MPs to test. Some of them are already readying their script to defend and justify their decision.

Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Umno has never opposed the hudud law as long as it is being implemented according to the real Islamic law, and not for PAS’ political survival. Zahid is trying to imply that only Umno has the religious credibility to implement the “right” hudud.

He has found an ally in DAP’s Teresa Kok who said that PAS’ intention to implement hudud is to ensure that the party will not lose the support of the Malays. Zahid should thank Kok for making his political one-upmanship against PAS a success.

If Kok’s allegation is true, it reflects a deep and serious political dilemma in Pakatan which can no longer be avoided. The coalition has not found an answer to capture more electoral support from the Malay belt and PAS is losing its patience. Any unilateral decision made by PAS, such as the private bill on hudud, is going to have an impact on the coalition’s urban support base.

The popularity and acceptance of the Islamic penal law is not even tested among urban Muslims. Surely, it is going to create distrust among non-Muslim voters against PAS and it may have a huge impact on the party’s performance in the next general election.

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