A Dictator’s Mindset

They want BN to stop PAS because they believe the law would affect non-Muslims but they defend their own government’s amendment because they say it doesn’t affect non-Muslims.

Mak Khuin Weng

DAP appears incessant with their demand that it is BN’s responsibility to stop PAS from tabling the Syariah Courts Act (RUU 355) amendment.

Is such a demand or expectation of BN fair?

Principled Democracy

PAS parliamentarians are democratically elected representatives of their constituents. They have publicly declared that they would pursue an Islamic state, and the proposed amendments to RUU 355 is part and parcel of how PAS Members of Parliament (MPs) intend to fulfil their pledge to their voters.

Umno has made no such promises to their voters, but there are strong sentiments among their constituents to support the RUU 355 bill. Whether they vote in support or against, that is something between Umno MPs and their constituents.

The other BN component parties disagree with the RUU 355 amendments and all of them have publicly stated they would vote against it in Parliament.

By allowing PAS to table the RUU 355 amendments in Parliament and allowing MPs an opportunity to vote on it, BN is being fair in their treatment of the proposal.

So, for all their disagreements over the subject, there is at least an understanding from PAS and BN Parliamentarians of how our democratic government works.

So, to answer that question of whether it is fair to demand that BN stop PAS from tabling the bill, the answer is that it is not fair.

DAP and Islamic Law

Fairness aside, DAP appears to be inconsistent in what they demand of others and how they treat proposals to amend Islamic law under their own government.

When MCA and Gerakan similarly demanded that the Penang Government rescind the amendment to the Penang Islamic Religious Administration Enactment where 40 words were banned from being used by non-Muslims, DAP chose to uphold and defend the amendment that received full support from DAP state assemblypersons.

DAP’s explanation is as follows:

Section 49(1) of the Enactment states that a fatwa shall be binding on every Muslim in the state…, without mentioning non-Muslims, clearly restricting its application on Muslims.

To make it clear, DAP believes it does not matter that a clause was specifically amended to prohibit non-Muslims from using the 40 words listed because there is another clause that mentions the applicability of fatwas are limited to Muslims alone. Therefore, the 40-word ban is not applicable to non-Muslims because it is a fatwa.

If this is DAP’s understanding of how the law works, DAP should have no problems working out an agreement to ensure that non-Muslims are not mentioned at all in RUU 355. After all, that is what PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s assured, that non-Muslims would not be affected.

Of course, that’s not the case since DAP made it very clear that they are very much against the RUU 355 amendment.

A Dictator’s Mindset

So how does DAP reconcile with this contradiction in treatment of Islamic laws? They want BN to stop PAS because they believe the law would affect non-Muslims but they defend their own government’s amendment because they say it doesn’t affect non-Muslims.

This contradiction can be easily explained using the mindset of a dictator. A dictator will ban and stop what they do not agree with, without any regard for what the law says.

Using this mindset, the Penang Government can allow the law to be amended (to please Muslim voters) and ignore whatever the law says later (to appease non-Muslim voters).

It is only through this mindset that DAP can control the law, because they can literally dictate their way out of the mess they create themselves.

And it is also because DAP’s understanding of power is such that they would suggest a dictatorial method to BN to silence PAS.