PAS drops the substance for the shadow

Pakatan Breakup

Sin Chew Daily

The Pakatan Rakyat leadership meeting decided on February 8 to discuss the hudud and local council election issues at a special meeting to be held on May 10. However, PAS Kelantan state government insists to present the draft bills to amend Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code II at the State Legislative sitting on March 16. PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang vowed to implement the hudud law in the name of late spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.

PAS has ruled Kelantan since 1990 and Nik Aziz, who had served as Kelantan Mentri Besar, had spared no effort to fight for the implementation of hudud law in the state over the years. Although the Syariah Criminal Laws Act II was passed in 1993, it was not implemented as the federal government did not approve it. And now, PAS insists on presenting the draft bills to amend Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code II at the State Legislative sitting next month, and to table it in next month’s parliamentary sitting as a private bill. The hudud implementation issue has again triggered controversies, not only exposing the fragile relations among the three component parties of Pakatan Rakyat, but also touched the nerves of non-Muslim communities.

With PAS’ two-third majority seats in Kelantan’s state assembly, the amendment bill is expected to be passed easily at the State Legislative sitting and at the same time, PAS is also expected to table the bill at the Dewan Rakyat in March. There are currently 136 Muslim parliamentarians and the bill can be passed with a simple majority. PAS is ambitious in implementing the hudud law, while Umno is ambiguous. Non-Muslims are most worried that if Umno Members of Parliament vote for the hudud law to gain political interests, the hudud law can then be implemented in all states, becoming a nightmare for non-Muslims.

PAS ignored the Pakatan Rakyat leadership council’s decision and issued a statement the next day after the Pakatan Rakyat leadership meeting, insisting on convening a special state assembly meeting to present the amendment bill in March. It showed the existence of major differences among the three component parties of Pakatan Rakyat. It also does not rule out the possibility that the party’s conservative forces have taken the opportunity after the death of Nik Aziz. These exposed the internal fighting of PAS, which might not only lead to split, but is also a severe test for the unity and cohesion of Pakatan Rakyat. With the imprisonment of PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the death of Nik Aziz, Pakatan Rakyat lacks communication and mediation bridges. It is questionable whether its three component parties can continue cooperating, and unite for the goal of seizing Putrajaya.

Part of the reason for PAS’ political force expansion is because it gains votes from non-Muslims with the help of PKR and DAP. However, it now kicks away the ladder and presents the hudud law bill without caring about the interests of non-Muslims. PAS cares only about the hudud law and it might cost it a heavy price in the next general election.

PAS’ insistence of implementing the hudud law is like heading towards a path of no turning back. As a secular country, the civil law, democracy, and national mechanisms defending human rights will for sure be affected. The daily lives of non-Mulims, businesses and working lives will also be interfered and affected, such as non-Muslim businesses are also required to close for the Muslim’s Friday prayer.