Sunday, April 20, 2014
Will PAS' Hudud Bill See The Light Of The Day?
PAS' has harboured dreams of implementing Hudud in Kelantan since 1990s and its dreams were rekindled when neighbouring Brunei decided to implement the Syariah system and concurrently the Hudud.
Brunei's Syariah law and Hudud will come into force on April 22, which introduces specific method of execution for rape, adultery, sodomy and extra-marital sexual relations.
Political analyst Dr James Chin, a senior fellow at the Institute of South East Asia Studies based in Singapore, says PAS is under pressure especially from its younger supporters who argue if Brunei can do it, it can be done in Malaysia too.
A DIFFERENT TURF IN MALAYSIA
However, back in Malaysia the federal constitution that is secular in nature has been the stumbling block thus PAS has to get the Parliament's approval to amend the constitution before it could implement Hudud in Kelantan.
PAS knows well that the bill's passage is filled with hurdles but still wants to go ahead as the Hudud could serve as the trump card in helping the party regain some relevance as it has been overshadowed by its partners PKR and DAP in the Pakatan Rakyat setup.
In the 13th General Election (GE13), PAS downplayed the race and religious card to appease its Pakatan partners especially DAP that was dead against Hudud and it resulted in the party's dismal performance.
Nonetheless, some politicians believe the move could be a clever political strategy as well as to embarrass UMNO as it will put the backbone party of Barisan Nasional (BN) on a difficult position.
"If UMNO votes against the bill, it is a checkmate by PAS on UMNO on the Hudud," explained Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEA) chief executive officer Wan Saiful Wan Jan.
"There are two things here. One is that some in PAS believe Hudud is a religious obligation, while others believe this could be a good political move," he adds.
However, Dr James Chin points out during the days of the PAS Spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, the Hudud card against UMNO had been prohibited.
MOVE TO HUMILIATE UMNO AND PKR
"Apart from the effort to embarrass UMNO, I also believe it is also a retribution against PKR over RM2 million lawsuit against PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang," says MCA veteran politician Datuk Yap Pian Hon.
Yap is referring to the former Bukit Besi PKR candidate and PKR Dungun Youth Chief Mohd Shamsul Mat Amin's refusal to withdraw his RM2 million defamation suit against Abdul Hadi who is also the Member of Parliament for Marang.
On Feb 23, the Kuala Terengganu High Court ordered Abdul Hadi to pay RM2 million in damages to Mohd Shamsul for the defamation suit he filed on Dec 5 last year.
Mohd Shamsul sued Hadi over the latter's statement that even drug dealers were among PKR's candidates for GE13, which became an excuse for PAS to nominate its own candidate in the seat allocated to PKR resulting in a three-cornered fight in Bukit Besi.
THE MATHEMATICS DON'T FAVOUR HUDUD BILL
In order for the Hudud to be implemented in Kelantan, PAS needs two-thirds support of the Dewan Rakyat that is from at least 148 of the 222 Parliamentarians.
However, it only takes 75 parliamentarians to vote against the bill to dash PAS' hopes of enforcing Hudud in Kelantan.
"Even if all the Muslim MPs vote for the bill, still PAS won't have the two-thirds support to get it through. PAS knows this well and that's why I say it is purely a political move," says Chin.
Some PAS leaders concur with Chin that even if the bill is passed, Hudud still cannot be implemented without a comprehensive Syariah system in place.
PRIVATE MEMBER BILL, ONE OF KIND IN MALAYSIA
Nonetheless, PAS' attempt to table a private member bill is something rare in the Malaysian legislature.
A private member's bill is a proposed law introduced into a legislature by a legislator who is not acting on behalf of the executive branch.
Despite the euphoria over the bill in PAS' camp, Chin remains doubtful that the party will proceed with the tabling of the bill in Dewan Rakyat.
"Even if it is allowed to be tabled, there will be another fresh hurdle to go through. Even if get passed (two-thirds), there is still a huge challenge to get it implemented due to various technical reasons," he adds.
Prior to this, Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob had said that the private member's bill on Hudud would be tabled in Parliament to obtain approval for the enforcement of the Syariah Criminal Code (II) Enactment.
Ahmad said PAS would choose a suitable parliament session to table the bill as provided by Article 76(A) of the Federal Constitution.
Meanwhile, DAP publicity chief Tony Pua and PKR vice-president N. Surendran have pointed out that the Hudud law was never agreed upon by the opposition coalition and any attempt to table such bill would face stiff objection.