KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — Both PAS and the DAP are equally guilty of populism in the hudud issue by using religion and fear respectively in rallying their supporters, PKR vice-president Chua Tian Chang said today.
Chua said PKR, on the other hand, wants to help Muslims understand that there is an alternative to dealing with Quranic obligations over the Islamic penal code, and to persuade non-Muslims not to fear and attack those who genuinely believe that hudud is just and divinely inspired.
“DAP fell into MCA’s trap and PAS into Umno’s,” Chua told Malay Mail Online when contacted.
“In the hudud case, both pro- and anti-hudud camps are just as guilty. Both sides rally in populist sentiment; one side based on the sense of religiosity and the other, based on fear.
“Both sides just want to rally to their respective constituents, not trying to appeal for a rational and conciliatory process,” added the Batu MP, better known as Tian Chua.
He said PKR members are “democrats, but not populists”, as populists go on popular sentiment, not principles.
Chua was commenting on PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang who said yesterday that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) allies, PKR and the DAP reject hudud only out of fear of losing electoral support.
The Islamist opposition party chief accused PR politicians who disagreed with the implementation of the Islamic criminal law of prioritising success in elections over public safety.
Chua, however, noted that Kelantan PAS has said voters have given it the mandate to implement hudud in the state, citing also Politweet’s recent study that found the majority of Twitter users in Kelantan and Selangor supporting hudud.
“But political principles cannot be based on popular sentiment alone. If you invoke religious sentiment and disregard principles to win votes, it’s just as guilty. So what I am saying is that both PAS and Umno also hold up hudud as a way to get votes,” said the PKR leader.
Chua also said PKR does not oppose hudud as a concept and that the party respects the rights of those who want the Islamic penal code implemented, but stressed that PKR believes hudud requires a more progressive interpretation than the one pushed by PAS.
“We did not support the version passed by Kelantan DUN because it’s a literal and dogmatic interpretation of hudud, as many scholars argued it’s drafted by humans and has lots of weaknesses,” he said.
Chua added that the implementation of hudud cannot be rushed and cited eminent religious scholar Prof Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradawi as saying that the Islamic penal code is not a priority.
“Priority and demands of Muslim politics are building a legal/ political system based on justice, freedom and human rights,” said the opposition federal lawmaker.
The Kelantan state assembly approved the Shariah Criminal Code (II) (1993) 2015 Enactment on March 19 with 31 votes from PAS lawmakers supported by 12 from Umno.
PAS also submitted a private member’s Bill to Parliament to remove the legal obstacles that prevent the enforcement of hudud in Kelantan, which requires bipartisan support from Umno and others to pass.
The Bill did not make it into the April sitting’s agenda, however, and PAS has since confirmed that the party will again seek to table it in May.