KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — Countries that do not have hudud laws but are run by democratic and caring governments are more Islamic than those run by unjust, corrupt leaderships that implement the Islamic criminal justice system, former Chief Justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad has said.
Abdul Hamid said hudud was in essence a form of punishment against criminals and should not be used as the sole benchmark to determine how “Islamic” a government is.
“Hudud is not the only measure of how Islamic a country is.
“A peaceful country where its government cares about the people’s education, health, and well-being and undertakes many measures to elevate the position of Islam and Muslims, is democratic and just without practising hudud.
“I believe (this) is more Islamic than a country which implements hudud but is cruel, corrupt and unjust,” he said in a commentary published by Berita Harian.
Abdul Hamid was weighing in on PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s proposal to enhance the powers of the Shariah courts.
“By working together with Umno, PAS stands a good chance to join the federal government to achieve more of its (PAS’s) goals,” he added.
Hadi’s Private Members’ Bill unexpectedly made it to Dewan Rakyat last month after an Umno minister proposed to elevate it in Parliament’s agenda, which Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia approved after saying it would otherwise never have “seen the light of day”.
Umno’s role in elevation of the Bill, which Hadi later deferred, drew complaints from its Barisan Nasional partners, whose leaders said they would quit if the proposed amendments are passed.
The Bill proposes to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 and empower Shariah courts to enforce punishments other than the death penalty.
Umno has insisted that the Bill is not the hudud Islamic penal code, but simply an upgrade of the Shariah courts’ powers to hand out harsher sentences.