Most Muslims want Kelantan to focus on flood recovery, not hudud, survey finds

People look on at a disaster evacuation centre after being evacuated due to flooding, at Tumpat in Kelantan December 29, 2014. — Reuters pic

Malay Mail Online | KUALA LUMPUR, 16-Mar–2015 — The majority of Muslim voters across the peninsula think the Kelantan government should prioritise post-flood reconstruction instead of focusing on its proposal to implement hudud in the state, a survey has revealed.

The survey by independent pollster Merdeka Center found that 81 per cent of the Malay-Muslim respondents polled between January 21 and 30 this year shared the same view.

Merdeka Center said the findings indicated that the Kelantan PAS government’s hudud bid would not likely improve the party’s standing among the Kelantanese, or among the national Muslim electorate in general.

The pollster added that the findings were similar to its previous survey in April 2014, which had revealed that 58 per cent of Malays throughout the country felt they were not ready for hudud.

“This move recalls the party’s disastrous 2004 general election outing under the ‘Islamic State’ manifesto, which led to the fall of the PAS Terengganu state government and near loss in Kelantan,” Merdeka Center said in a press release today.

According to the survey, only 11 per cent of its Malay-Muslim respondents said Kelantan should prioritise its push for hudud, the controversial Islamic penal code that the state legislative assembly is expected to debate this Wednesday when the PAS-led government tables amendments to a state Islamic enactment.

Eight per cent said, however, that they were unsure.

Across all races, the survey also found that 84 per cent of Malaysian voters in the peninsula said Kelantan should focus on flood recovery efforts instead of on implementing the controversial Islamic penal code.

Only seven per cent said the state should proceed with its hudud implementation, while eight per cent said they were unsure and one per cent refused to respond.


Army personnel attend to a flood victim at a flood relief centre in Kelantan, December 26, 2014.
The survey polled a total of 1,008 registered voters here via telephone, including 60 per cent Malay, 30 per cent Chinese and 10 per cent Indian voters.

Respondents were selected on the basis of random stratified sampling along ethnicity, gender and state of residence. The interviews were carried out in the preferred language of the respondents.

The Kelantan PAS government reportedly plans to proceed with tabling amendments to the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment II 1993 at the state legislative assembly this Wednesday, despite repeated objections from its Pakatan Rakyat (PR) partners DAP and PKR.

Details of the proposed amendments, however, have not been made public nor did the PAS-led state administration share copies of the bill with their PR partners until last week.

When the draft was shared last Thursday, the PR presidential council told PAS to “reconsider” its amendments, with one DAP man telling the Islamist party that the proposed changes were entirely a new piece of legislation instead of minor updates to the Kelantan Shariah Criminal Code Enactment II 1993 as previously claimed.

The DAP lawmaker, Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo also said DAP will continue to reject hudud as it was “impractical and against Pakatan’s common policy framework.”

Yesterday, however, Kelantan Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah said the state will proceed with tabling the proposed changes this week and will not revise the draft as requested by the PR presidential council.

“Not going to go back to meet Pakatan again. We have discussed and it will be tabled,” he told Malay Mail Online.

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Merdeka Center