‘Lazy, stupid’ Malaysians turning to religious laws, says Zaid

The former law minister is a staunch critic of hudud. — Picture by Choo Choy May
The former law minister is a staunch critic of hudud. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 — Former minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim chided Malaysians today for becoming a “lazy, stupid and greedy” nation that is now prepared to let religious laws govern life.

Comparing Malaysia with his recent experience in neighbouring Vietnam, Zaid said this penchant for an easy fix has made Malaysians fascinated with religious laws that they think can somehow be a perfect panacea for the country’s many problems.

“We have had no such periods of difficulty and life was never that hard for us… This benign state of affairs, however, has proven to be a curse because it has made us lazy, stupid and greedy!” the former law minister wrote in his blog.

According to Zaid, Malaysians live in a world of fantasy, believing that the country’s wealth will never run out and political leaders never need to be held accountable.

“Lately, we have even become too lazy to think of all our problems, and we can’t be bothered to contemplate the potentially painful solutions we need to fix them,” said Zaid.

“We want easy answers for everything, which explains our newfound fascination for God’s laws. We want religious laws to regulate our lives and believe that, somehow, using God’s laws will make everything perfect.”

Zaid claimed that this fantasy manifested itself, among others, in the Malays’ purported belief that holy men should be their leaders, and moral policing would lead to honourable and corruption-free lives.

“We fantasise that moralising is government business, and to gratify ourselves with a sense of power we believe that others are always less perfect than we are,” he added.

“We think it’s harmless to divide and rule the people as we have done since Independence, and that we can dispense with having national unity or a national identity.”

The Kelantan state legislative assembly today passed amendments to the Shariah Criminal Code II 1993 to pave the way for the controversial implementation of hudud laws in the state.

Zaid is a staunch critic of hudud, with his column in English daily The Star today warning PAS that voters will punish it in the next general election for its insistence on pushing through its hudud plans in Kelantan.

The former Kota Baru MP also said that the Islamist party is desperate to remain relevant among voters, particularly in Kelantan, following the demise of the party’s spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat who wielded great influence in the Pakatan Rakyat ally.