Push for hudud law raises tensions in Malaysia

A proposal in Malaysia’s Parliament to present the stringent Islamic chastening code referred to as hudud law is threatening to split the nation’s government apart.The proposed costs were presented in parliament last Thursday by Abdul Hadi Awang, the president of the country’s opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party.

It will be debated in October and, if passed, will change current provisions in the nation’s Sharia courts– which govern Muslims– with harsher hudud penalties. Hudud law allows for charges such as amputation of limbs and stoning.

The tabling of the expense was made possible with the assistance of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the bulk party that comprises the ruling Barisan Nasional union. Prime Minister Najib Razak has been attempting to calm the outcry that has actually erupted since the tabling of the proposal, denying that the costs will cause the full execution of hudud law.

” I wish to state that it’s not for the implementation of hudud. It’s simply to offer the Sharia courts boosted penalties. From six-strokes caning to a couple of more,” he stated, in an interview with regional media.

However, non-Muslim part celebrations of Najib’s ruling Barisan Nasional coalition government– which has actually led the nation since its independence in 1957– have formed a consensus decrying it.

One of these parties is the Malaysian Indian Congress, whose president, S. Subramaniam, in a statement, called it “inconsistent with the Federal Constitution.”

” The MIC is of the view that the proposed costs are irregular with the provisions of the Federal Constitution, which secures the rights of all Malaysians for equivalent treatment before the law and versus the duality of sentencing.”

2Sim Kui Hian, president of the Borneo-based Sarawak United People’s Party, is likewise opposing the costs, saying all signatories to the forming of Malaysia in 1963 concurred that the country would be run by a secular federal government.

” The passing of the bill could encourage Sarawakians to part ways with Malaysia,” he said. A huge proportion of the population in East Malaysia are non-Muslims, rather than the peninsular where the bulk are Malay Muslims.

Malaysia’s Transport Minister, Liow Tiong Lai, and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Mah Siew Keong– both of whom are non-Muslims– have threatened to quit Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Cabinet if the bill is passed in Parliament. Subramaniam has also promised to resign as minister ought to the expense be passed.

‘ Political strategy to acquire Muslim support’

Previous law minister Zaid Ibrahim– a kept in mind critic of the Najib administration– says this is a clear indication that the concept of democracy and rule is changing in the nation.

” Islam is defined by those in authority, and they define it however they desire. This is all political and the destructive result is going to be in the long term.

” There is growing conservatism in the nation and it is driven by politics. It used to be extremely subtle but now it is getting bigger,” said Zaid.

3Zaid believes allowing the hudud costs to be discussed in Parliament is a political technique by Najib, to garner the Malay-Muslim support.

Those promoting hudud law in Malaysia say it will be applicable only to Muslims and not influence non-Muslims. However, Chandra Muzaffar, the president of non-governmental organization, The International Movement of a Just World, states the implementation of hudud will produce an unjust double legal system.

” If you commit a misbehavior, your punishment can not be different from another person. You need to be reasonable. If two people individuals commit burglary, one gets his hand sliced off and the other doesn’t, it isn’t really right,” he said.

He cited a hypothetical example of a Muslim man captured for raping a non-Muslim woman.

” Under hudud, the authorities will have to be presented with 4 male Muslim witnesses and the rapist can argue that he be set free if they are even except one. Can you imagine the reality that the non-Muslim victim has to deal with even if the rape can be proved through DNA screening?” he described.

Muslim Conservatism in Southeast Asia

There have been several cases in Malaysia that have seen conflict in between the civil and Sharia courts.

The case went on for years, with the constant argument being whether it ought to fall under the jurisdiction of the civil or Sharia court. Indira eventually won the case after the High Court granted her complete custody of her children and annulled their conversion to Islam in 2013.

Muslim conservatism is growing in Southeast Asia. Over the last few years, Brunei and the Indonesian province of Aceh has seen hudud and Sharia laws introduced.

Aceh executed Sharia law in 2001. It was the first time a non-Muslim was punished under Sharia in Aceh.

Brunei, on the other hand, carried out Sharia and hudud law in 2014.

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