Top brass goes into damage control over the hudud controversy.
The order will be in force until top Pakatan leaders, including PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang and DAP national chairman, Karpal Singh, meet to discuss the matter on Wednesday.
“Many people, including Muslims themselves, don’t understand (the matter),” PAS secretary-general Mustafa Ali said at a press conference today.
“Statements have been issued by numerous people and we don’t blame them. Hudud is a sensitive matter that can be easily misinterpreted,” he said.
He was flanked by PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution and DAP representative Anthony Loke.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng is currently overseas on an official visit as Penang Chief Minister.
PAS president, Hadi is also outstation and is scheduled to return tomorrow.
Mustafa said that even if Pakatan remained silent, Umno-BN will continue to exploit this matter to cause disagreement among the three parties in the opposition coalition.
The hudud issue surfaced again after PAS spiritual leader and Kelantan Menteri Besar, Nik Aziz Nik Mat, said that he would want to implement hudud law in Kelantan.
His call was backed by PKR defacto leader, Anwar Ibrahim, last week.
This has alarmed coalition partner DAP which has openly criticised PAS over the matter.
Mustafa today justified Nik Aziz’s statement, saying that democracy was more important to PAS.
“He (Nik Aziz) was talking in the context of Kelantan, not the whole of Malaysia. The Syariah Criminal Law (Enactment) was passed by the Kelantan State Legislative Assembly in 1993 but its implementation was stopped by (then prime minister) Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“’Mahathir said, ‘Don’t implement or we will take action’. When Mahathir says he will take action, he means something like democracy will be terminated.”
He added that Nik Aziz did not continue to implement hudud because in the light of losing democracy from Mahathir’s potential “actions”, the principles of democracy were important.
“That’s why we don’t implement hudud in Kedah (a state where the menteri besar is a PAS leader). We follow the democratic, legal process where the (proposal for hudud law) must be approved by the state assembly.”
“No Muslims will say they reject hudud but its implementation depends on other factors,” Mustafa added.
This strategy, he said, will not succeed as Pakatan is now “tighter and more mature”.
On MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek’s statement that MCA will leave the BN if hudud law is implemented, Saifuddin cited Terengganu where the Syariah Criminal Law (Enactment) was passed in 2003 when the state was under PAS leadership.
“Terengganu is now under Umno-BN but the syariah law is still there; it is not repealed or implemented. So if MCA wants to leave, it is now,” he said.
Meanwhile, Loke said that the views of DAP and PAS that were carried in the press were not new opinions.
“But we (Pakatan) have proved over the last three years that we can coorperate, we can function…DAP will work hard to solve this issue and we are committed to Paskatan,” he said.
Karpal, who has been one of the more vocal opposition voices against the implementation of hudud, has said that Pakatan leaders have all agreed to support a secular state.
The tension continued as Guan Eng was reported as saying that DAP representatives will resign en-bloc from the top Pakatan council if the implementation of hudud law was one of the coalition’s election manifestos.
But Mustafa said today that Guan Eng did not speak of such intentions to him.
“He and I speak all the time but he did not say any such thing (walking out of the council) to me.”