Developments in the past week have left us with no doubt that Umno-Baru MPs will vote with PAS for the bill that will lead to the introduction of hudud in Kelantan. In return, it is speculated, PAS will help Umno-Baru in the coming general election in Malay-majority constituencies.
Umno supreme council member Nazri Aziz seemed to think that he could easily pull the wool over our eyes with his statement that his party was merely doing PAS a favour to help it overcome the Kelantan government’s failure to make Muslims in the state more law abiding.
If Nazri is truly concerned about Kelantan’s well-being, the first thing he should do is advise the Prime Minister to pay all the oil royalties owed to the state.
With the increased revenue, Kelantan can build more flood barriers, fortify its river banks and purchase more small boats to help rescue flood victims.
The funds can also finance a state-wide cleanliness campaign.
Visitors to Kota Baru are struck by the filth in the town. The toilets in the airport terminal, for example, are a no-go area after heavy rain. Sometimes, one wades through a 2-inch puddle of water on the toilet floor. Cleaners prefer to use powerful hoses instead of mops and buckets to try to clear the floors of filth. They probably don’t realise that E coli and God knows what else are present in the water.
In the towns, drains are clogged with plastic bottles, plastic bags and general rubbish.
What’s happening to the town council? Surely the chairman of the council, the Mentri Besar, the PAS President and members of the PAS central committee are familiar with the verse in the Quran that says, “Truly, God loves those who turn to Him constantly, and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean.”
Politically, Umno-Baru has much more to gain than PAS in their collaboration. Although Umno-Baru is tainted by abuses of power, voters, including a lot of Malays, will see it as a more compassionate party than one that advocates harsh punishments.
PAS cannot solve Kelantan’s rubbish problems, the environmental degradation in the state or the moral problems of its citizens. The party seems oblivious to the increased rates of HIV/AIDs among married women. These women are contaminated by their husbands, who nip across the border to indulge in a bit of pleasure in the red light districts, then return home and fail to practise safe sex with their wives.
Kelantan needs a progressive education system that instils responsibility and moral values in the young. Its women need empowerment. More religion rammed down the throats of citizens will make them gag.
If PAS cannot even clear the streets of rubbish, what makes it think that hudud will help solve the more serious issues in Kelantan?
Mariam Mokhtar is an FMT columnist.
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