KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 ― Gerakan president Datuk Mah Siew Keong confirmed today that Barisan Nasional (BN) member parties will soon release a joint statement declaring their position on hudud, following a report claiming that most of the pact’s partners are opposed to the Islamic penal code. In a press conference at the party’s headquarters here, Mah said all 13 BN component parties have met to discuss the matter, and the statement will be released next week. “BN had a meeting. We will be coming out a joint statement on hudud. The statement should be out in one or two days,” Mah said, adding that Gerakan had also included its input in the statement.
Asked to reveal if the statement will declare BN’s formal opposition to the controversial Islamic law, Mah refused to comment further. “On our part, Gerakan has already initiated legal action on hudud implementation,” Mah added. He was referring to the originating summons that the party’s legal bureau filed against the Kelantan government on Thursday. Local Chinese daily Sin Chew reported that that most Cabinet members declared they were against the implementation of hudud during their weekly meeting yesterday. According to the paper, MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai also said he reiterated MCA’s opposition to hudud during the meeting and urged the Cabinet to protect the Federal Constitution.
He also claimed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak responded positively to the rejection of hudud BN’s member parties, and that the latter would soon issue a statement on the matter. The news, however, appears to contradict the stand taken by Umno’s Kelantan chapter on the controversial Islamic law. When amendments to the Kelantan’s Shariah Criminal Code II 1993 were tabled in the state legislative assembly earlier this week, all 12 Umno assemblymen voted in support of the tweaks. After the vote, Kelantan BN chief Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the pact’s state chapter will continue to be consistent with its decision to support PAS’ bid to introduce the law.
He was quoted in Bernama as saying that Kelantan Umno’s federal lawmakers will similarly support the bid in Parliament, when PAS moves to table two private members’ bills that will pave the way for the implementation of the law in the east coast state. “We (Kelantan BN Members of Parliament) are consistent with our stand all these while. (However), this is our stand at (Kelantan) state level only, we do not know how it is in the other states (under BN),” he was quoted saying after the Kelantan sitting. PAS is expected to table private members’ bills in Parliament to remove legal roadblocks in the implementation of the Islamic penal code that punishes apostasy with the death penalty and theft with amputation of limbs.