Not ready for hudud? Then get prepared, Kelantan deputy MB says

In Islamic jurisprudence, ‘hudud’ covers crimes such as theft, robbery, adultery, rape and sodomy. Punishments for the crimes are severe, including amputation, flogging and death by stoning. ― AFP pic

The Malay Mail Online | KUALA LUMPUR, 16-Jul-2014 ― The only way Malaysians will accept hudud is if Kelantan is allowed to implement its long-standing enactment, the state’s deputy mentri besar said, adding that the public would just have to get ready to comply with the divine law if they still felt unprepared.

“If you are not prepared, then preparations must be made,” Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah said.

The Kelantan lawmaker who heads the state’s technical committee on hudud was responding to the Merdeka Center survey released today that showed that most Malaysians are not prepared for hudud.

Mohd Amar admitted, however, that more consultation and explanation is required before the state can go ahead with implementing hudud.

He told The Malay Mail Online that the public can gauge for themselves if the Islamic penal code is suitable for Malaysia once it is implemented in Kelantan.

In the survey released this afternoon, Independent pollster Merdeka Center found that 59 per cent of the Malaysians polled believe the country is not prepared to implement the controversial hudud, with 58 per cent of Malays believing so.

Just 25 per cent of respondents — and 30 per cent of Malays — believed that Malaysia is ready to introduce hudud now.

Over half the Malaysians polled also said they believe that hudud will not be implemented fairly with the judiciary and law enforcement currently in place. Only 32 per cent felt it would be implemented fairly.

Only 56 per cent of Malaysians polled said they understand the law, with only 14 per cent understanding it “a great deal”.

Those who did not understand it included 62 per cent of Chinese and 49 per cent of Indians polled.

The survey polled 1,009 voters in Peninsula Malaysia via telephone in their preferred language between April 12 and 21 this year.

Mohd Amar, however, pointed out that the survey failed to establish the components of hudud that they found to be unsuitable.

“There is a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to hudud. Yes, the punishments are severe but without understanding the philosophy of it you cannot come to conclusions,” he said.

“It is not about chopping someones hands off just like that… the burden of proof is high,” added Mohd Amar.

Reiterating that the hudud is only to be applied in the east coast state, he insisted that “ the Kelantanese have no problems with it.

“Here, 95 per cent are Muslims… and they have been with us for the past 23 years,” said Mohd Amar.

In Islamic jurisprudence, “hudud” covers crimes such as theft, robbery, adultery, rape and sodomy. Punishments for the crimes are severe, including amputation, flogging and death by stoning.

The debate over hudud was rekindled in April when PAS made known its plan to enforce the Islamic criminal law in Kelantan, which it has governed since 1990.

But according to the Shariah Courts (Criminal) Jurisdiction Act 1965, the Islamic court cannot sentence offenders to more than three years in jail or fine them more than RM5,000. It also cannot sentence offenders to be whipped more than six times.

The news then led to baiting between the Islamist party and rival Umno over the controversial bid to amend the country’s laws to allow the introduction of hudud.

Last month, Selangor Umno assemblymen proposed a study on the feasibility of implementing hudud in the state, but withdrew it at the 11th hour.

Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) has allegedly proposed, in a working paper by its Shariah-Civil Technical Committee, that hudud to be rolled out nationwide in two stages.

But amid stern resistance, PAS said it will delay tabling two Parliamentary private members’ bills needed to pave the way for the enforcement of hudud in Kelantan, to allow a proposed bipartisan committee to study the implementation of the Islamic penal code.

The national-level committee on hudud is scheduled to host its inaugural meeting in Putrajaya tomorrow, said Mohd Amar.

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