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Malaysians not ready for hudud, says Merdeka Center survey
16-Jul-2014, The Star Online
By Victoria Brown

PETALING JAYA: Majority of Malaysians are not ready for the implementation of hudud, a recent study by Merdeka Center revealed.

The survey carried out among voters in Peninsular Malaysia found that 58% of Malays, 59% of Chinese and 61% of Indians felt that the country is not ready to implement hudud laws.

"Overall, 59% of the respondents believe that the country is not ready to implement hudud laws," said Merdeka Center for Opinion Research in a press statement, released on Wednesday.

The survey found that only 25% of the total respondents and 30% of the Malay respondents believe that the country is ready for the implementation of hudud laws at this point of time.

Several respondents doubt the ability of judicial institutions and enforcement agencies to implement hudud laws fairly at the present time, with only 32% believing that hudud laws can be implemented fairly.

Meanwhile, the Malay community was split in regards to the question of fair implementation, with 44% believing that there will be a fair implementation and 43% believing otherwise.

Among other communities, perceptions were clearly in the negative light with only 11% of Chinese and 17% of Indians responding positively to the question.

However, despite saying the country is not prepared to implement hudud, a total of 53% of the respondents said they supported the Islamic laws.

This number comprised 71% Malay respondents and both 26% of Chinese and Indian respondents respectively.

"Among Malay respondents, the survey found high support for hudud and yet at the same time low level of readiness to see it implemented," said Merdeka Center.

"In our opinion this possibly reflects their desire to conform to established norms about the primacy of the Sharia laws at a personal level but at the same time indicate hesitation to see it fully implemented publicly," the statement read.

Interestingly, the survey also found that many people still do not fully understand hudud, with only 56% of respondents saying that they understood the Islamic law.

The study was carried out from Apr 12 to 21, involving 1,009 registered voters out of which 60% were Malays, 31% Chinese and 9% Indians. They were picked randomly and interviewed by telephone.

The debate on hudud came about after PAS revealed that they intended to move a  state intended to table a Private Member’s Bill at the Dewan Rakyat to pave the way for hudud to be implemented in Kelantan.

The Kelantan PAS government's plan to table the motion raised tensions within Pakatan Rakyat as it has always been a source of contention between its component parties.

While, MCA voiced its strong objection to the bill and has set up a powerful legal team to tackle its proposed tabling.

However in May, PAS decided to postpone the tabling of the bill after the formation of a joint technical committee on the issue.

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