G25: Hudud law may not be good for multi-racial Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Countries which have implemented hudud are either failed or failing states and Malaysia should learn from this, warned former Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim.

Mohd Sheriff, a member of the G25 group of prominent Malays, said those insisting on hudud implementation should consider its impact on multi-racial Malaysia.

So far, he said, Malaysia had enjoyed peace and stability due to the rule of law.

He added that the G25 was concerned with the administration of Islam and how religious authorities were exercising powers in contravention of the Federal Constitution.

“Several states have acted far beyond their jurisdiction in a manner which has caused friction with other races and unnecessary tension harmful to national security.”

Allowing this to continue, said Mohd Sheriff, would lead to serious implications, not only for Muslims but for other races.

“If these contraventions continue, they can cause a lot of damage to the country’s political and social stability,” he said at the forum.

The group, said Mohd Sheriff, had decided to issue an open letter to the public in December to raise public awareness about religious fatwa and injustices against women, who were often the target.

In the letter published in The Star on Dec 8, the group, comprising mostly former top civil servants, ambassadors, academicians and civil rights activists, had expressed deep dismay over the continuing unresolved disputes on the position and application of Islamic laws in the country.

Mohd Sheriff said there was also a lack of awareness among top policymakers on the legal jurisdiction and the limit of powers of religious authorities.

“The public should be allowed to debate the ways Islam is used as a source of public law,” he said, adding that Malaysians should be prepared to talk more openly on issues regarding race, religion and human rights.

G25 and other moderate groups wanted the existing system of constitutional democracy with Islam being the official religion to be maintained, he added.

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