KUALA LUMPUR: All Malaysians should reject PAS’ Private Member’s Bill to maintain racial and religious harmony, said members of the group of eminent Malays, known as G25.
In a statement Wednesday, the pro-moderation movement said it categorically oppose PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s Bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1995, as well as the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code II (1993) Bill 2015 that was passed by the Kelantan State Legislative Assembly.
The group said although Article 3 of the Federal Constitution declares that Islam is the religion of the Federation, constitutionally, Malaysia “is a secular state” intended by our forefathers and the framers of the Federal Constitution.
“Further, our nation is a multi-religious, multi-racial and multi-cultural.
“As such, hudud is inappropriate and unacceptable to the vast majority of Malaysian society.
“Moreover, a law such as the Kelantan hudud Bill of 2015 is unconstitutional by reason of Article 8 (which states equality before the law) of the Federal Constitution.
“As such, Muslims in Kelantan will be subjected to two sets of laws; the hudud and the Penal Code,” said the group, which comprises eminent retired Malay civil servants and personalities.
The group urged the Kelantan government instead to focus on improving the lives of its people, rather than “being obsessed with hudud”.
“Surely the state government of Kelantan needs no reminding that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and the pious caliphs who succeeded him emphasised the people’s welfare instead of a punitive approach to governing,” said G25.
The group said the Government has a “fiducial and moral duty” towards Malaysians to build a happy and prosperous country.
It added that the country’s leaders should focus their attention on the responsibilities in governing the nation, instead of “playing dangerous politics with hudud”.
Members of G25 also said they were not convinced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s assertion that Abdul Hadi’s Private Member’s Bill was not about implementing hudud.
Last Friday, Najib said there was a “misunderstanding” over the nature of the Bill, adding that the proposed Bill was on reforming the caning punishment meted out by the Syariah Court.
Members of G25 noted that the Bill permits the State Legislatures to empower the Syariah court to impose any form of hudud punishment other than the death penalty.
The group further explained that the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code II prescribes “hudud punishments” for offences such as adultery, theft, robbery, sodomy, consumption of liquor and apostasy.
“However, the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1995 does not permit the Syariah Court to impose hudud punishments, and, hence, this Federal law has been an impediment to the state of Kelantan in making the Kelantan hudud Bill 2015 a valid state enactment.
“Therefore, there is the need for the state of Kelantan to seek Parliament to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1995. And, so, here comes Hadi’s Bill,” said G25.
The group also expressed fear that if Hadi’s Bill were to be passed by Parliament, it would open the floodgates for other states to introduce hudud and the “more severe forms of punishments”.
“The Bill, therefore, has long-term and far-reaching implications,” said G25.