Parti Keadilan Nasional supreme council member, Dr. Lee
Boon Chye said yesterday that PAS’ hudud and the Islamic state concept were
stumbling blocks to the party’s chances of getting Chinese votes in the
Pendang and Anak Bukit by-elections. (New Sunday Times).
Lee said that although efforts were made to explain these
issues to Chinese voters, the fears could not be allayed.
He said it was also difficult because “the Barisan
Nasional progapanda stoked these fears” and “portrayed negative images of
PAS’ Islamic state and the hudud”.
Lee said PAS had to find ways to tackle both issues among
the Chinese if it hoped to contest in states like Selangor and the Federal
Another Keadilan leader, its vice president Azmin Ali, said
that the Barisan Alternative had to “try harder” to explain these issues to
both the Malays and non-Malays even before the next general election, given the
Barisan Nasional’s media control and strong machinery.
The diagnosis of the Keadilan leaders as to why PAS failed
to attract Chinese support in the recent Pendang and Anak Bukit by-elections in
Kedah was spot-on, but the cure that they have administered – “better
explanations” – could not be more inappropriate.
Keadilan leaders should realize that the issue is not
whether the Barisan Alternative component parties could come up with “better
explanations” to sell PAS’ hudud and Islamic state concept to the Chinese,
non-Malays and non-Muslims, but whether Barisan Alternative component parties
can realize that PAS’ hudud and Islamic state concept have destroyed the 1999
Barisan Nasional Common Manifesto “Towards A Just Malaysia” which contained
the implicit exclusion of an Islamic State or any hudud and qisas enactment!
The challenge before Keadilan and Barisan Alternative is
not how to find more effective explanations to sell PAS’ hudud and Islamic
State to the Chinese, non-Malays and non-Muslims, but for all Barisan
Alternative component parties, including PAS, to honour and return to the 1999
BA Common Manifesto which impliedly excluded an Islamic State or any hudud and
I am not suggesting,
for instance, that the PAS Terengganu State Assembly “un-pass” the Syariah
Criminal Offences (Hudud and Qisas) Bill, although it goes against the Federal
Constitution, violates human rights, discriminates against women, flouts
widespread objections from the civil society, destroys the 1999
Barisan Alternative Common Manifesto and would pressure UMNO to compete
with PAS to out-Islam each other which is detrimental to orderly development of
Malaysia’s plural society.
What the Terengganu Mentri Besar and Acting PAS President,
Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang should do is to give an undertaking that PAS would
not take the hudud and qisas bill one step further, and would withhold the bill
from presenting to the Terengganu Sultan for royal assent, unless there is
national multi-racial and multi-religious consensus.
Instead of thinking how PAS can more effectively “tackle” both issues and sell them to the Chinese, Keadilan leaders should make a clear and unequivocal stand to ask PAS to give such an undertaking not to pursue the hudud and qisas bill any further.
The Barisan Alternative was the most ambitious attempt in
Malaysian politics in 44 years to create a Malaysian political centre to rally
all Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, on the common cause of justice,
freedom, democracy and good governance.
It is most unfortunate that this most ambitious attempt to create the Malaysian political centre has been destroyed by the two PAS issues of hudud and Islamic state – and the greatest challenge now is how to rebuild the political centre in Malaysia, which is presently best symbolized in the campaign to defend and uphold the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, the “social contract” and the 1963 Malaysia Agreement that Islam is the official religion but Malaysia is not an Islamic state, whether UMNO Islamic State or PAS Islamic State.