‘Malaysia not a secular country’


(The Rakyat Post) – A religious scholar in stressing that Malaysia is not a secular country, pointed out three approaches to implement hudud which can be applied to all Malaysians.

Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (Usim) senior lecturer Dr Zulkifli Hasan said, during a forum organised by the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM) on hudud ‎today, that Muslims in the country, have “long been duped into believing that Malaysia is a secular country when it is not.

“We have for long been duped by this statement. There is not even a word that says ‘secular’ in the constitution or state constitutions before independence … on the contrary, it is essentially Islamiah Malayuwiyyah,” he said during the forum entitled”‘Hudud in Malaysia: Challenges and Implementation” held at the Selangor State Mosque.

Zulkifli said that the position of Islam is superior in the Federal Constitution.

“Malaysia is not a secular country so what’s wrong in implementing hudud? Given the standing of the religion, that is why funding is provided to the Islamic Development ‎Department to ‘strengthen’ it,” he added.

Zulkifli who stressed that  hudud is an “ideal set of laws” to only be implemented in an “ideal society”, adding it can be implemented to cover both Muslims and non-Muslims.

“I will highlight three approaches. First, hudud can be made as part of the general laws in the country. It can be made as part of the Penal Code…we Islamise it, have Penal Code 1 and 2, which can be applied to all.

“Only few laws need to be amended with a simple majority for this to happen,” he said, adding that, the Penal Code as it is, already adopts several hudud laws.

However he acknowledged that this will give rise to several issues pertaining to both the Federal and state constitutions.

“Secondly, hudud can be made state enactments, like what Kelantan is attempting to do. This can be done by amending the Federal Constitution if the law is to be applied to non-Muslims.”

Zulkifli said that for this, there needs to be a two-third majority to amend the Federal Constitution and it will again be difficult.

Thirdly, he  said, that‎ if the law is to be only applied for Muslims on adultery and alcohol consumption offences stipulated as illegal or “haram” in Islam, it would for the government to grant power to the states to amend their own enactments.

“Hudud can be applicable to all if it touches on matters of public safety and harmony. Especially for offences like theft and robbery,” he said.

“Hudud should not be politicised but instead, seen as a way to strengthen the Syariah Courts and Islamic laws in general. Hudud is not deterrent in nature but to teach.”

Zulkifli said that the negative impression on hudud portrayed by non-Muslim lawmakers has to be countered by holding proper discussions and talks.

When asked if he thinks Malaysia is ready for the law, Zulkifli said while he advocates for the law as a devout Muslim, the implementation framework ‎is still very much vague and often politicised.

“Hudud can be implemented any time, the issue is only the implementation..the law itself is not a problem.”

He said, however, that hudud laws seen to be controversial and oppressive towards women needs to be dropped entirely.