KUALA LUMPUR: Former de facto law minister Zaid Ibrahim today challenged the government, and those pushing for shariah law punishment enhancements, to go all the way in their Islamisation policy.
He dared the government to change the Federal Constitution to bring about a fully Islamic administration, rather than introducing “half-baked” measures.
In his latest blog post, Zaid also urged the government to state its intentions clearly on Islamisation so that Malaysians, especially the Malays, would know exactly what was in store.
He said if the government wanted a religious shariah-compliant country, it should realise that the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355) amendment was “merely a set of half-baked half-measures that served no purpose”.
He challenged the government and those such as PAS president Hadi Awang to amend the Federal Constitution to remove its secular nature if they were really serious about having an Islamic state such as that espoused by the Taliban.
He also challenged the government to use the Feb 18 rally with PAS to set the wheels in motion for a constitutional amendment.
“There will be no need for the Act 355 amendment then,” he said.
In criticising former chief justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad’s views on the Constitution and hudud, Zaid said:
“He wants Islamic criminal law — hudud — to be the basis of Malaysian law. In response to those who oppose PAS’ plan to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355), Tun Abdul Hamid said that the government could simply amend other legislation such as the Penal Code to introduce hudud-like laws.”
In other words, Zaid said, Hamid was telling non-Muslims to count their blessings and not oppose the Act 355 amendment and that if they were to oppose it, the prime minister could simply amend the Penal Code and introduce hudud for everyone.
Saying Hamid was wrong, Zaid added that it was not as easy as that. Those pushing for hudud must first amend the Federal Constitution.
“The Constitution must first declare Malaysia to be an Islamic state — that is, a religious state — and that all laws must conform to the tenets of Islam.
“It would also be helpful if our Federal Court were to convene a special hearing to reject the Supreme Court’s decision in Che Omar Che Soh v PP  2 MLJ 55, which declared the Federal Constitution to be a secular one.
“It is only with these fundamental changes that the prime minister can amend the Penal Code and related legislation so that hudud can be entrenched in this country.”
That, Zaid said, was what a gentleman or a committed Islamist would do. Malaysia, however, had many hypocrites speaking for Islam.
He said these people – which included politicians, civil servants and even former judges – had ganged together to come up with the Act 355 amendment, which effectively metes out hudud-like punishments for Muslims convicted of crimes.
He noted that the proponents of the amendment were telling Muslims that this was to “defend Islam’s honour” and that it was a “sin” not to support them.
In addition, non-Muslims were being assured that the Act 355 amendment did not apply to them.
Zaid sees this as the BN strategy to get the votes in the coming general election.
“So I challenge the prime minister, Hadi and the former chief justice to amend the Federal Constitution. Do not be afraid and don’t hide behind the Act 355 amendment.
Zaid said Muslim law was personal law in this country — that is, it applies to Muslims only.
“The very distinction of personal law and general law exists only in a secular Constitution – there is no such distinction in a theocracy.”
He called on the government to come clean on what Malaysia would be like in 50 years, asking if the government wanted half the country to be governed by Taliban-type law and the other half by secular law.
Zaid said Malays and Muslims also needed to know if men and women would have to sit in separate seats on buses and aeroplanes soon. – FMT