KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 – Umno should make a stand now on PAS’s hudud and not pretend to be surprised with the Islamist party’s push for the implementation of the Islamic criminal law in Kelantan, says Tun Musa Hitam. The former deputy prime minister said hudud is not suitable for a country like Malaysia, expressing his disappointment over Umno’s slow response on the issue. “I am disappointed that Umno appeared to be shocked (by PAS’s move) and until now have yet to decide on its stance. I have been worried about this for some time,” he said in a statement from Cordoba, Spain. “Umno must take a firm stance. This national issue has a very long implication to the country, both domestically and internationally,”
He said as Umno could not afford to be seen as trying to outdo PAS on this issue. “Don’t try to be more PAS than PAS themselves. Umno should not be trying to out-PAS PAS!”, he said. With PAS’s partners, DAP and PKR deciding not to support PAS’s hudud bill should it be tabled in Parliament, the onus is now on Umno and Barisan Nasional to clarify whether it supported the bill. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is expected to make an announcement on BN’s stand on PAS’s hudud soon. Several BN component parties had given their views during the recent meeting and it was up to the prime minister to disclose it.
Musa, who is also the former Umno deputy president, said when it comes to hudud, the people should not be surprised with PAS’s hudud bill as the party has been championing the issue consistently for a long time. “And to the opposition parties in Pakatan Rakyat, do not pretend you are not aware of it too,” he said. At the same time, Musa reiterated his stance that hudud is not suitable for a country like Malaysia. “As a former Umno leader, I strongly believe in my heart that since its establishment until today, Umno’s stance too has been that hudud is not suitable for a multi-religious, multi-racial country like Malaysia,”
Musa said that if he was wrong about it, Umno should make a decision on its stance immediately and not brush off the matter. “The nation will not the only one that is going to pay for the consequences, Umno too will feel its bad effect, more so that it has served the country for so long, “Do not let this destroys Umno from within… don’t self destruct.” he said. PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang is seeking to table a private members’ bill in Parliament during the current sitting ending April 9 to enable Kelantan to implement amendments to the state’s hudud laws which have drawn outrage from his own PR allies.
The conservative Islamist leader sent a notice to Parliament on March 18, after the Kelantan state assembly unanimously approved the Shariah Criminal Code 11 1993 (Amendment 2015), or hudud bill. Hadi’s notice, which was confirmed by a senior party leader who said it was to amend Act 355 (Shariah Courts) which limits the powers of the court and is an impediment to implementing the hudud law. Act 355 or the Shariah Courts Act (Criminal Jurisdiction) 1965 limits the shariah courts to a maximum penalty of RM3,000 in fine, five years’ jail and six strokes of the rotan. An amendment is required in this law to enable the Kelantan hudud amendments to take effect. However, PAS allies PKR and DAP say hudud laws are not part of Pakatan’s common stand.