KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — Elated with Kelantan’s push for hudud, Muslim groups suggested the controversial Islamic penal law in the state will grow and spread to the rest of Malaysia once it is enforced.
Amid opposition from critics, the Muslim groups lauded Kelantan for going ahead with tabling its hudud Bill today, and hopeful that the Islamic law will ultimately be judged by its implementation and positive contribution towards the society.
“We hope [hudud] will get the support of all Muslims, because we do not want this to just be in Kelantan… I see that, God willing, the same wave will fall in Terengganu, and then maybe Pahang,” said Mohamed Hafiz Mohd Nordin, the chairman of Muslim groups coalition Pembela.
According to Hafiz, Terengganu has been “more advanced” in its implementation of Islamic laws, pointing to recent proposals to restrict tourists to cover up and to parade Muslims who skip Friday prayers in hearses.
Previously under PAS’ administration, Terengganu also passed the Criminal Law (Hudud and Qisas) Enactment back in 2003.
“I think the states where it would be easy to implement hudud are the ones with sultans. After Terengganu and Pahang, perhaps Johor and Perak,” added Hafiz.
The Malay sultans have the authority over Islamic affairs in their own states, while the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is the head of religion for those without Malay rulers.
Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman, the president of Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma), assured Malaysians that hudud is a means to protect the welfare of the country and guarantee a harmonious life as it guarantees the safety and security of citizens.
“The impact [of hudud on Islam] is good... Maybe, people must see the impact of hudud that will make things from unsafe and not peaceful to safe and peaceful,” Abdullah told Malay Mail Online over phone.
“Rightly so,” Abdullah added, when asked whether he wishes to see hudud implemented in other states.
Despite that, the Malaysian chapter of hardline Islamist group Hizbut Tahrir was more cynical with Kelantan’s move, saying that it wishes to see a more holistic and thorough implementation of Islamic administration across the country rather than just hudud.
Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia claimed that the step to implement hudud should have come at the federal level, because it would otherwise subject citizens to differing laws.
The group also criticised Kelantan PAS for subjecting hudud, which it emphasised was “Allah’s law”, under its state assembly and exempting non-Muslims from being judged by hudud.
“We don’t agree that it was tabled under the state assembly or the Parliament. For us, Islamic laws including hudud cannot be voted on, cannot be approved by humans… Allah’s laws do not require the support of mortals,” the group’s spokesman Abdul Hakim Othman said over the phone.
“For us, it was wrong, because it is obligatory for Islamic laws to be implemented on all men,” he added, referring to Kelantan’s decision to apply hudud to only Muslims in its amendment.
Instead, it is banking on support from Umno in Kelantan, which said it is obliged as a Malay-Muslim party to back the PAS government’s plan and will do so when the state legislative assembly goes to vote tomorrow.
Kelantan tabled the Shariah Criminal Code (II) (1993) bill today, despite repeated objections from PAS’ Pakatan Rakyat allies, DAP and PKR.
The state amended a previous provision allowing non-Muslims to choose to be judged in the Shariah court, amid fears that hudud will involve non-Muslims in the state.
The Islamist party also reportedly plans to table two private members’ Bills on the same matter in Parliament sometime later this month, which, if passed, will enable Kelantan to implement the Islamic criminal justice system.
But with just 21 MPs, the Islamist party will need the support of Umno to pass the Bills in Parliament as allies DAP have expressly rejected the Islamic penal code while PKR lawmakers are also expected to withhold support.
Umno leaders have expressed support for the controversial law, but remain non-committal when asked if they would vote for it at the federal level.
Umno currently have 88 MPs, all of which, except for deputy speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee, are Muslims.