PAS decides to put hudud bills on the backburner

Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and PAS have decided to put the two hudud bills on the backburner. —  Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and PAS have decided to put the two hudud bills on the backburner. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 — PAS will delay tabling two private members’ bills needed to pave way for the enforcement of hudud in Kelantan, saying today it wants to allow a proposed bi-partisan committee to study the implementation of the Islamic penal code.

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said the Islamist party was agreeable to Putrajaya’s proposal for a technical committee involving both the federal and state governments to examine and provide suggestions on how best to enforce hudud in Kelantan.

“As such, the proposal to table the private members’ bills in Dewan Rakyat during the June sitting will not proceed.

This is to allow the technical committee about to formulate suggestions and subsequent action,” he said in a statement today.

Last month, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin — also the Umno deputy president — said his party will push for a national-level committee on hudud.

Muhyiddin had said both local and foreign experts on hudud would sit in the proposed committee. The specifics of the committee are not yet known.

In 1993, the PAS state government passed the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment II, allowing it to impose the strict Islamic penal code in the state, but the laws have not been implemented yet.

PAS is now looking for parliamentary approval to implement hudud. It plans to put forward two private members’ bills in parliament. One seeks approval for punishments including whipping, stoning and amputation while the other seeks to empower Shariah courts to mete out the sentences.

In all previous attempts, PAS had been frustrated by Barisan Nasional (BN) tactics to prevent any vote by employing a “talking out” tactic where BN MPs have been allowed to speak for an extended period of time to prevent such private members’ bills from even being debated.

The filibuster-style tactic was frequently used when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was still prime minister.

This was believed to be largely due to Dr Mahathir seeking to avoid putting Umno MPs in a difficult position of deciding whether to back or reject the Shariah enactment.

However, Umno leaders have now said they have no objections to the implementation of hudud and have constantly challenged PAS to try to introduce the law.

Recently, Putrajaya also announced the formation of a special committee to study how to enact hudud. Legal experts insist that hudud cannot be implemented in Malaysia as it would be unconstitutional. They also pointed to complexities in enforcing a law in which non-Muslims could not be compelled to appear.

Related Articles