Hudud to hurt Amanah in by-election campaign


So, in short, the Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by-elections will be about Hudud versus Secularism. This will be just one of the election issues, of course. And that was why the opposition has been playing up the Hudud issue over the last few weeks. But if Umno is smart they can blow this issue back into the faces of DAP and Amanah.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

The seven candidates contesting the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections on 18th June 2016 are Budiman Mohd Zohdi (BN), Dr Abdul Rani Osman (PAS), Azhar Abdul Shukur (Amanah), Datin Mastura Yazid (BN), Dr Najihatussalehah Ahmad (PAS), Dr Ahmad Termizi Ramli (Amanah) and Izat Bukhary (Independent).

Did you notice that all seven candidates are Malays and all (other than the independent candidate) are from what can be considered as ‘Malay’ parties? The so-called multi-racial parties such as Gerakan, DAP, PKR, etc., are not contesting these two by-elections basically because Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar are ‘Malay’ seats while Gerakan, DAP, PKR, and so on, are as multi-racial as I am a virgin.

In short, the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections are a purely Malay affair, and even though the constituencies may only be two-thirds Malay, it will be the two-thirds and not the one-third non-Malay that matter. And that is why the so-called multi-racial parties would never dare contest those seats. And do not even dream of fielding a non-Malay candidate in those constituencies unless you have a death wish.

Say what you like, Malaysian politics is about race and religion (and will always be so) and as much as some try to pretend otherwise they are just fooling themselves. And the way the non-Malays clapped and cheered the helicopter crash in Sarawak and the recent death of the Deputy Prime Minister’s son-in-law, this just helped towards strengthening Umno’s Malay vote base.

One of the candidates, Mastura Yazid, lost her husband in that Sarawak helicopter crash. And the Pakatun supporters, in particular the Chinese, posted very nasty online messages that basically celebrated his death. That would have an affect on the Malay voters because the late Member of Parliament for Kuala Kangsar was well liked and, to the Malays, it is appalling that non-Malays would be so kurang ajar as to mock someone’s death.

One handicap facing Mastura is that since she is still going through her period of mourning she is not allowed to leave the house to campaign. She did not even personally file her nomination papers today and, instead, was represented by her four sons. However, this can also work in her favour because it shows she is a good Muslim who would observe protocol and tradition even if that results in her losing the by-election.

In other words, she will never sacrifice her Malay customs and Islamic traditions just to win an election. And if she has to lose the by-election just because she does not personally campaign and show her face then so be it. Malay customs and Islam comes first. And that uncompromising stand may actually work in her favour and help her gain even more votes than if she came out to campaign.

Lim Kit Siang and DAP are trying to get the one-third non-Malay voters to swing to Amanah. The strategy is to get Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the ANC (Anti-Najib Campaign) to campaign amongst the Malays, in particular the Umno Malays, and split the Umno Malay votes.

If Mahathir can swing half the Umno Malay voters while DAP swings the non-Malay voters, then Amanah may be able to win both by-elections. Amanah is expected to win 20% of the PAS supporters’ votes. No doubt it is only 20% of the PAS supporters’ votes but added to the 50% of the Umno votes and the rest coming from the non-Malays, Amanah can most likely win with 45-50% of the votes leaving Umno and PAS to share the other 50% or so.

Yes, all Amanah needs is 40-45% of the votes if the balance 55% is split into two between Umno and PAS. So 45-50% is a sure win for Amanah. But then Amanah must take 20% of the PAS votes and half the Umno votes with the difference from the one-third non-Malay voters.

So Lim Kit Siang and DAP are not as stupid as you may think. And that is why they appointed Mahathir as the new de facto Opposition Leader to replace Anwar Ibrahim. Mahathir is going to play a very crucial role in dividing Umno and in bringing the Umno votes over to Amanah (which is why Mat Sabu, Amanah’s President, said he has is now very close to Mahathir: READ HERE).

And that was also why Lim Kit Siang and DAP played up the non-existent ‘Hudud Bill’ over the last few weeks. That is supposed to frighten the one-third non-Malay voters and swing them over to Amanah. DAP will tell the non-Malay voters that it is behind Amanah while Umno is behind PAS and was the one that ‘opened the door’ for PAS to present its ‘Hudud Bill’ in Parliament (although no such Bill exists).

So the three main strategies would be:

1. Mahathir and the ANC will campaign amongst the Umno Malays and will allege that Najib stole RM42 billion of 1MDB’s money.

2. DAP will campaign amongst the non-Malays and will allege that PAS is trying to turn Malaysia into an Islamic State with the collaboration and tacit approval of Umno.

3. Amanah will campaign amongst the PAS Malays and will allege that Abdul Hadi Awang and PAS have sold out to Umno and are now Umno’s running dog.

But then there are a few issues that Umno can raise to counter this. First would be that when DAP had its proxy Menteri Besar in Perak, Nizar Jamaluddin, who is now in Amanah, they converted a lot of TOL and lease land owned by the Chinese into freehold land (disguised as 999 years ‘lease’). This has angered many people (other than the DAP Chinese, of course).

Hence Amanah has sold out the Malays at a time when they were running Perak and this issue can gain a lot of mileage amongst the Umno Malay voters. And they did this in just a year. Imagine what would have happened if they had stayed for eight years, like in Penang. Then the Perak Malays would probably be pushed out, just like the Malays are being pushed out in Penang.

Then we have the Hudud issue. While Lim Kit Siang and DAP are accusing PAS of trying to implement Hudud and of trying to turn Malaysia into an Islamic State — in collaboration with Umno — what is Amanah’s position on this?

Amanah has never said it opposes Hudud or the Islamic State. In fact, Amanah has threatened to sue anyone who alleges that it is opposed to Hudud. Amanah denies that it is opposed to Hudud and explains that its silence regarding Hudud is merely because it has not decided yet which way to swing.

So Umno and/or PAS can use this and can tell the voters that Amanah, too, supports Hudud — only that it cannot openly say so because then DAP would stop giving them money. And Amanah needs funding from DAP or else it would have to close down.

Amanah cannot counter the allegation that it silently supports Hudud by openly announcing that it opposes Hudud. To do that Amanah would be seen as opposing the Qur’an and Hadith, and that would be political suicide. So Amanah has to continue to say nothing and not declare whether they support or oppose Hudud and leave the non-Malay voters guessing.

What they can do is: Amanah just keeps quiet while DAP will whisper to the non-Malay voters that Amanah actually opposes Hudud because DAP has made sure that Amanah opposes Hudud. However, DAP will explain, Amanah has to just keep quiet and not say anything.

Amanah, therefore, need not openly say it opposes Hudud. DAP will say it for them.

But then a smart Chinaman, and I was told there are many, will ask a few questions. All the Amanah leaders are from PAS. Many of then joined PAS back in the 1970s and 1980s. So when PAS introduced the ‘Hudud Bill’ in Kelantan in 1993 and in Terengganu in 2002, why did those who are in Amanah today not oppose it then?

Amanah leaders such as Mat Sabu, Khalid Samad, Nizar Jamaluddin, Ahmad Awang, Abdul Ghani Shamsuddin, Salahuddin Ayub, Mujahid Yusof Rawa, Hasanuddin Mohd Yunus, Siti Mariah Mahmud, Dzulkefly Ahmad, and many more, were all taikos in PAS. When the late Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat, who was the then Kelantan Menteri Besar, tabled the ‘Hudud Bill’ in the Kelantan State Assembly 23 years ago all these Amanah people supported it. In fact, they even tried to explain why Hudud must be implemented and that it is an essential part of Islam as laid down in the Qur’an and Hadith.

When all these Amanah leaders were in PAS they insisted that Hudud must be implemented. And they called Umno a party of kafir (infidels) and explained that they hate Umno and want to see Umno destroyed because Umno opposes Hudud. They even opposed Umno supporters from being buried in the same graveyard as the PAS supporters because those who oppose Hudud are infidels and not Muslims.

And, after all that, you want these Amanah leaders to now say that they oppose Hudud? They can’t! At best they need to just keep quiet and say nothing. They cannot say they oppose Hudud but they cannot also say they support it. They will just keep their mouths shut and allow DAP to whisper to the non-Malays that Amanah opposes Hudud. And many non-Malays would be stupid enough to believe this in spite of 5,000 or 10,000 years of civilisation.

So, in short, the Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by-elections will be about Hudud versus Secularism. This will be just one of the election issues, of course. And that was why the opposition has been playing up the Hudud issue over the last few weeks. But if Umno is smart they can blow this issue back into the faces of DAP and Amanah.