Can’t call Malaysia ‘Islamic’ if you reject hudud, Kelantan reps tell Dr M

Ahmad Yaakob

(MMO) – Malaysia cannot be considered an Islamic country if it rejects attempts to implement hudud, officials in PAS’s Kelantan government told Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yaakob also dismissed Dr Mahathir’s recent claim that PAS’s version of the Islamic penal code would create an unfair criminal justice system here, noting that it was not the first time the former prime minister made the assertion.

“Dr Mahathir has been making the same claims when he was PM, he is still doubting Kelantan’s plans. But we as Muslims have a duty to adhere to hudud, it is God’s will,” he told Malay Mail Online.

Kelantan Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah said it was ironic that Dr Mahathir persisted in opposing hudud especially since the latter pronounced Malaysia to be an Islamic country when he was prime minister.

“What does Dr Mahathir know or understand? This person who is so opposed to hudud is the same person who declared this country as an Islamic country.

“Can’t call Malaysia an Islamic country but oppose efforts to enhance Shariah courts,” he told Malay Mail Online.

The country’s longest-serving prime minister had in 2001 declared Malaysia an Islamic state. The following year, Dr Mahathir made a similar assertion, this time calling the country an Islamic fundamentalist state.

Last year, however, Dr Mahathir changed his position, saying that Malaysia is neither an Islamic nor secular state, but just an “ordinary state” with Islam as the official religion.

The hudud controversy resurfaced recently when an Umno minister elevated PAS’s Bill to empower the Shariah courts for tabling in the Dewan Rakyat.

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang later asked for the Bill to be deferred to the next meeting in October but since then, debate has continued to rage on over its implications.

PAS and Umno leaders have defended Hadi’s proposal as simply a bid to strengthen the Shariah courts’ punitive powers; they are currently restricted from imposing sentences beyond a three-year jail term, RM5,000 fine and six lashes of the whip on Muslim offenders.

But critics, including from Barisan Nasional’s non-Muslim component parties, insist that the Bill is PAS’s back door attempt to introduce hudud in Malaysia.