Abdullah should make the policy announcement during his first visit to Terengganu tomorrow after Barisan Nasional’s recapture of the Terengganu state government that the repeal of the PAS hudud enactment will be the first item of the new state government’s agenda
by Lim Kit Siang
(Ipoh, Saturday): Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Idris Jusoh has announced that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will visit Terengganu tomorrow, the second state to be visited by Abdullah after Penang following the Barisan Nasional’s unprecedented landslide victory on Sunday’s general election.
In his visit to Terengganu tomorrow, Abdullah should make the policy announcement that the repeal of the PAS hudud enactment will be the first item of the new Barisan Nasional state government’s agenda after the recapture of the Terengganu state power from PAS.
This is important and urgent so as not to give room for doubt about the seriousness of Barisan Nasional election pledges, which was raised when Idris announced two days ago that the Barisan Nasional state government will only decide whether to repeal the hudud law passed by the toppled-PAS government after the court decides on its legitimacy.
This stand of the Terengganu Mentri Besar is as shocking as the reason given by him, that it is sub judice to talk about any repeal of the Terengganu Syariah Criminal Enactment (Hudud and Qisas) gazetted last October so long as there is a case in court challenging its constitutionality.
Idris is not only showing his abysmal ignorance about the most elementary knowledge of the law and the constitution, but is not serious about solemn Barisan Nasional pledges to put right all the wrongs committed by the previous PAS state government – such as the gazette of an unconstitutional hudud and qisas enactment.
New Straits Times today reported that the legal position has been clarified by the constitutional lawyer, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, who represented the UMNO leader Datuk Zaid Ibrahim in the latter’s case against the PAS Terengganu State Government challenging the constitutionality of the PAS hudud and qisas enactment.
Malik Imtiaz said that the new Barisan Nasional Terengganu State Government can repeal the PAS-enacted hudud and qisas enactment without waiting for the Federal Court’s judgment on the case, as “any law can be repealed at any time”.
Malik Imtiaz has rightly pointed out that the Terengganu Government is still paying for the services of the lawyer Sulaiman Abdullah, who had been retained by the previous PAS state government to represent the state government in court.
As advised by Malik Imtiaz, an immediate decision should be taken by Idris and the new State Exco “to instruct Sulaiman to tell the court that Terengganu has no wish to proceed with this law”.
The indecisiveness of Idris does not augur well for a competent and efficient administration under the new Terengganu state government, and Abdullah should end such indecisiveness and hesitancy to honour the Barisan Nasional’s general election pledges by clearly and specifically announcing in Terengganu tomorrow the policy decision to repeal the PAS-enacted hudud and qisas enactment as the first item of the new state government agenda.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman