KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 — Islamist party PAS today urged those who oppose its plans to impose hudud laws in Kelantan to respect the party’s democratic right to present its case in parliament.
The party’s plans to implement the laws, which carry harsh punishments including stoning, whipping, amputation and death, have been strongly opposed by its ally in the Pakatan Rakyat alliance, DAP, as unconstitutional.
“PAS urges parties opposed to the implementation of hudud laws, at the very least, to respect the party’s democratic right to lay out the laws in question in Parliament,” PAS chief of communications, Datuk Mahfuz Omar said in a statement.
PAS is also ready to enter into dialogue with anyone needing explanation or who wishes to criticise or share views on the laws, he added.
“PAS has said repeatedly that its policies will not be forced on the people or pushed through by backdoor means, circumventing the country’s Constitution and laws,” Mahfuz said.
“If the democratic process does not favour us, we are ready to abide by that.”
The party’s hudud move requires a big step to acquire a democratic legitimacy, Mahfuz said, adding that the party has chosen to debate the bill under the Federal Constitution’s Article 76A, so the Parliament can give its permission to implement hudud.
Mahfuz also acknowledged that there will be space for improvement while implementing the hudud laws, in enforcement and procedural matters, even though the laws themselves are based on the Quran and Hadith.
Earlier this month PAS said the state government is currently preparing to bring two Private Member’s Bills to Parliament soon, in order to implement hudud law in Kelantan by 2015.
But PAS is facing unyielding resistance from its PR partners PKR and DAP, and has said it hopes to get the necessary votes from Umno MPs in order to get the bill approved. The Islamist party will need a simple majority of 112 votes for this.
In Islamic jurisprudence, “hudud” covers crimes such as theft, robbery, adultery, rape and sodomy. Punishments for the crimes are severe, including amputation, flogging and death by stoning.