BY ZAINAH ANWAR
PAS’ hudud always been a divisive issue which led to the breakup of Pakatan Rakyat. Now, it is a bigger threat.
CABINET Ministers who support the amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 355 may continue to claim that it is not the prelude to enforcing hudud in Malaysia.
But as far as Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and PAS are concerned, they have checkmated Umno. It is the gateway to implementing hudud in Kelantan that they had strategised for – without having to amend the Federal Constitution.
In October 2011, PAS set up a technical committee on hudud and appointed a Constitutional lawyer to prepare a working paper. The strategy was to amend federal laws which needed only a simple majority, rather than going for a Constitutional amendment which would need a two-thirds majority which they knew they could not muster.
In April 2014, the new Kelantan Menteri Besar announced the plan to table two Private Member’s Bills to enable the Syariah Criminal Code II (1993), the so-called hudud law of Kelantan, to be enforced.
The tabling of the amendment to Act 355 to remove the limits on punishments that the Syariah Courts can impose will now open the way for any state in Malaysia to enhance the punitive powers of the syariah system.
Currently, Syariah Courts can impose a maximum of three years’ imprisonment, a fine of RM5,000 or six strokes of the rotan.
This amendment now removes this jurisdictional limit and replaces it with “any sentence allowed by Islamic law” other than the death penalty. This will then enable the Kelantan state government to impose hudud punishments of up to 100 lashes and amputation of hand and foot. Read more