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Hudud far from a reality

 | May 16, 2012

While PAS has always haboured an aspiration to implement the strict syariah provisions, a political observer says it's unlikely to see light of day

PETALING JAYA: Each time the hudud issue revisits Malaysian politics, DAP and PAS stare down each other and Barisan Nasional races to sound the alarm bells.

The long-standing debacle resurfaced last week after PAS ulama council chief, Harun Taib, said that the implementation of the hudud and amendment to the Federal Constitution remain PAS’ priorities.

DAP raised the anticipated objections but the issue was swiftly settled on Monday after the Pakatan Rakyat leadership affirmed that hudud would not be implemented as the Islamic penal law is not part of its common policy framework.

But aside from the obvious discord within Pakatan Rakyat, a political observer believes that this is as far as the issue will go.

Azmi Sharom of University Malaya underlined the gap between PAS’ aspiration and the reality of the country’s political landscape.

He pointed out that PAS’ stand on the matter is hardly surprising for a party whose raison d’etat is Islamic principals but also emphasised that to date, hudud has remained an aspiration and not an impending reality.

“PAS has always haboured this aspiration and it is perfectly legitimate to have one,” said Azmi. “But the realpolitik is whether that PAS can turn this aspiration into reality which I think is highly unlikely.”

“Whatever PAS has said is merely a restatement of its core beliefs. It has been repeating itself for a long time and has to remain consistent.”

Azmi added that even if Pakatan Rakyat takes power and doesn’t implement the hudud, PAS wouldn’t suffer a backlash as people would be more concerned about day-to-day issues than an Islamic penal law.

“PAS’s challenge would then be to live up to its other promises like poverty eradication and work to see those through first,” he said.

Political motives

A prominent PAS blogger, Abdul Rahman Talib, meanwhile, emphasised that while hudud is important to Muslims it would be best if the issue was left on the backburner for now.

Rahman, better known as Tulang Besi, explained that hudud was a complex issue which can only be discussed at the right time and he believed that that time isn’t now.

According to him, non-Muslims still don’t understand the religious aspect of hudud as discussions pertaining to it have always been tinged with political motives.

“And even this time the issue began with a misunderstanding of (PAS president) Hadi Awang’s statement,” Rahman said.

“Hadi was misquoted by an online portal as saying that Pakatan would implement hudud for Muslims if it came into federal power and everyone reacted to this non-statement.”

Hadi’s political-secretary earlier this week insisted that Hadi had never made such a statement and demanded that the online portal issue a correction.

Rahman, however, lit into Harun for “stepping out of line and showing disrespect to the party leaders”.

He stressed that Harun didn’t represent PAS and added that his statement was unsurprising considering that Harun was a supporter of the unity talks between PAS and Umno.

“The very people who are questioning PAS’ stand on hudud are the same ones who call themselves Muslims yet reject hudud which is part of Islam,” Rahman said. “And this is the hypocritical Umno.”


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