KUALA LUMPUR: The Private Memberâ€™s Bill tabled by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang should be rejected to maintain racial and religious harmony.
Members of the group of eminent Malays, known as G25, said they categorically opposed Hadiâ€™s Bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act, as well as the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code II (1993) Bill 2015 that was passed by the Kelantan State Legislative Assembly.
The group, comprising pro-moderation personalities including retired Malay senior civil servants and personalities, said that although Article 3 of the Federal Constitution declares Islam as the religion of the federation, constitutionally, Malaysia â€œis a secular stateâ€ as intended by our forefathers and the framers of the Federal Constitution.
â€œFurther, our nation is multi-religious, multi-racial and multi-cultural. As such, hudud is inappropriate and unacceptable to the vast majority of Malaysian society.
â€œMoreover, a law such as the Kelantan Hudud Bill of 2015 is unconstitutional by reason of Article 8 (which states equality before the law) of the Federal Constitution.
â€œAs such, Muslims in Kelantan will be subjected to two sets of laws,â€ the group said.
The group urged the Kelantan government to instead focus on improving the lives of its people.
â€œSurely the state government needs no reminding that the Holy Prophet Muhammad and the pious Caliphs who succeeded him had always emphasised the peopleâ€™s welfare instead of a punitive approach to governing,â€ said G25.
The group added that the countryâ€™s leaders should focus their attention on the responsibilities in governing the nation, instead of â€œplaying dangerous politics with hududâ€.
The members of G25 also said they were not convinced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razakâ€™s assertion that Hadiâ€™s Bill was not about implementing hudud.
Last Friday, Najib said there was a â€œmisunderstandingâ€ over the nature of the Bill, adding the proposed Bill was on reforming the caning punishment meted out by the Syariah Court.
The G25 members noted that the Bill permits the state legislature to empower the Syariah Court to impose any form of hudud punishment other than the death penalty.
The Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code II prescribes â€œhudud punishmentsâ€ for offences such as adultery, theft, robbery, sodomy, consumption of liquor and apostasy.
â€œHowever, the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1995, does not permit the Syariah Court to impose hudud punishments.
â€œTherefore, there is the need for Kelantan to seek Parliamentâ€™s help to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1995. And, so, here comes Hadiâ€™s Bill,â€ said G25.
The group also expressed fear that if Hadiâ€™s Bill was passed by Parliament, it would open the floodgates for other states to introduce hudud and the â€œmore severe forms of punishmentsâ€.