Hudud law tweaks are ‘minor’, PAS assures survey respondents


(Malay Mail Online) – PAS is still bent on implementing hudud in Kelantan, despite a survey claiming a majority of voters want the government to focus on rebuilding the state that was hit by a major flood crisis earlier this year.

In a brief response to Malay Mail Online, the Islamist party’s deputy president Mohamad Sabu pointed out that the proposed amendments to Kelantan’s Shariah Criminal Code Enactment II 1993 to be tabled tomorrow are just “minor things”.

The tweaks are meant to pave the way for the state’s eventual implementation of the controversial Islamic penal code, which prescribes amputation as punishment for crimes like stealing.

“The amendments are minor things,” Mohamad said. “Non-Muslims are already excluded from Shariah law.”

“Of course we have to concentrate on flood relief. There will be more focus on flood victims. We will still work in Pakatan (Rakyat) and concentrate on kebajikan (welfare/charity),” he added.

Kelantan Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah told The Malaysian Insider that the state’s flood-recovery efforts have nothing to do with its hudud plan.

“It is not as if that once we table this enactment, we will forget about the flood-recovery works altogether. Everything can move simultaneously,” he was quoted saying today.

A survey released yesterday by independent pollster Merdeka Center revealed that a majority of voters in the peninsula think the PAS-led Kelantan government should prioritise post-flood reconstruction instead of focusing on its hudud plans.

The survey that polled 1,008 registered voters in January found that 84 per cent of respondents across all races shared the sentiment, while only seven per cent disagreed.

The survey also found that 81 per cent of Malay-Muslims, who made up 60 per cent of the total respondents polled, said the same.

Merdeka Center said the findings indicated that the Kelantan PAS government’s hudud bid would not likely improve the party’s standing among the Kelantanese, or among the national Muslim electorate in general.

The pollster added that the findings were similar to its previous survey in April 2014, which had revealed that 58 per cent of Malays throughout the country felt they were not ready for hudud.

“This move recalls the party’s disastrous 2004 general election outing under the ‘Islamic State’ manifesto, which led to the fall of the PAS Terengganu state government and near loss in Kelantan,” Merdeka Center said in a press release yesterday.

The Kelantan PAS government reportedly plans to proceed with tabling amendments to the state’s Syariah Criminal Code Enactment II 1993 at the assembly sitting tomorrow, despite repeated objections from its Pakatan Rakyat (PR) partners DAP and PKR.

Details of the proposed amendments, however, have not been made public nor did the PAS-led state administration share copies of the bill with their PR partners until last week.

When the draft was shared last Thursday, the PR presidential council told PAS to “reconsider” its amendments, with one DAP man telling the Islamist party that the proposed changes were entirely a new piece of legislation instead of minor updates to the Kelantan Shariah Criminal Code Enactment II 1993 as previously claimed.

The DAP lawmaker, Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo also said DAP will continue to reject hudud as it was “impractical and against Pakatan’s common policy framework.”

On Sunday, however, Mohd Amar said the state will proceed with tabling the proposed changes this week and will not revise the draft as requested by the PR presidential council.

“Not going to go back to meet Pakatan again. We have discussed and it will be tabled,” he told Malay Mail Online.