Hudud Law: The crisis of serious concerns in and for Malaysia

The theocratic political party in Malaysia, PAS, is determined to see the day when the Hudud law will be implemented in its State of Kelantan.

May 08, 2014

Editor,

The theocratic political party in Malaysia, PAS, is determined to see the day when the Hudud law will be implemented in its State of Kelantan.

Meanwhile the Democratic Action Party or DAP — another political party that now governs the northern State of Penang — is vehemently objecting to the passing of a Hudud Bill.

And UMNO — the United Malay Nationalist Organization, which has been successfully lording as the party for Malay interests in Malaysia these past over half a century — is carefully treading the deep waters surrounding this broiling issue of Hudud law.

The other component parties from both sides of the divide of government and opposition are either caught in a pendulum swing of opinions or just marking silent time on the fence.

What sense do all these concerns hovering on the Hudud law, for or against, make for a nation that is caught within the pangs of transformation, modernity and fundamentalism while ASEAN is set to grapple with the globalizing agenda of the United States?

To begin with, whether one is a Muslim or a non-Muslim, the Hudud law is a concern. And that is a foregone fact.

To state that non-Muslims have no grounds to debate what is deemed sacrosanct to Muslims does not augur well for a world that is fast tracking into a realm of quantum leaps as opposed to the age-old Newtonian thinking.

Likewise for non-Muslims to divorce themselves from the Hudud law intentions is akin to living like an ostrich with its head buried in sand, given the fact that Malaysia like many other nations is home to many religions.

After fifty-seven years of independent rule, Malaysia is indeed being torn apart like a loosely fitted puzzle of united (or federated) states because of the very fundamental political roadmap upon which the country has been built.

The fact is, for as long as we have politics that is spun around race and religion divides, the country’s problems are not going to evaporate with or without Hudud law.

If Barack Obama’s words of caution (when he addressed the Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative – YSALI at the town hall of Malaysia’s premier University Malaya in Kuala Lumpur) are to make any difference to right-minded people, we need to acknowledge that for as long as a nation is bent on having “reasons to discriminate” by race, religion, colour, gender, status, ability and wealth, that nation is doomed.

For as long as we let race and religion become the trading chips in our quest to govern, that nation of people will only be caught in a greater web of conflicts. No matter what the prime minister of Malaysia may proclaim in eloquent diplomatic tones and resplendent promises to the world, the very political architecture of Malaysia will only continue to work against all designs and quests for progress.

To state that by comparison to its neighbours, Malaysia is already registering as a progressive nation — given its mega structures and modern facilities — is certainly short-term glorification. We fail to recognize that the oil and crop currency that also made cronies into multi-billionaires was the sole driving force for all the physical progress we see around in Malaysia.

In spirit, mind and soul, Malaysians are still far from many other nations today, this day and century, as they are grappling with the Hudud war. Concerns for and against the Hudud law is the best benchmark to reveal the actual progress or otherwise, amongst its political bureaucrats — or power-and-control architects — and the citizenry.

This Hudud concern on both sides of the Muslim and non-Muslim divide is indeed driving such a deep wedge into the political and social conscience of Malaysia that it may never see healing in decades to come and for as long as the political topography is anchored in race and religion.

What the world is witnessing today of Malaysia is that each political party is beginning to see how its future, relevance and validity is being challenged by the Hudud law battle. At some point, with or without the Hudud being passed, all the political parties will have to pay the price.

What then is the way forward?

Even to attempt to offer answers to that question will let all hell break loose in this tiny country of Malaysia that has such huge potential especially should World War III break out. Perhaps that too explains the American President’s visit to four nations this season, i.e. Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Philippines.

The scenario presented here in this letter may appear extremely pessimistic. But how else can it be when the Hudud law plans are already putting so much of duress on the opposition political party coalition as well as becoming a chronic irritation to the ruling coalition.

And caught in-between are the working class population who will eventually struggle with the brunt of setbacks, with or without Hudud law.

At some point Malaysians would have sunk into a deeper abyss while race and religion takes an even more gripping hold on its population.

Whether the world’s superpowers will allow Malaysia to sink into such risky ravines — with or without Hudud law — is yet to be seen. Or is this all part of a grander scheme of global plotting to let Malaysia continue to paddle within the quicksand of race and religious divides, given Malaysia’s strategic geopolitical location and the imminent threats of World War III?

Malaysians, what do you think?

J. D. Lovrenciear
Kuala Lumpur Hudud

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