State leaders should try to improve their administration of other matters before taking hudud on.
THE current batch of Kelantan PAS leaders are not accustomed to achieving success on their own. They won Kelantan in 1990 simply because Umno was torn to pieces by the Mahathir-Razaleigh feud that lasted over 10 years.
They were able to carry on in power because of the exceptional charisma of Tok Guru Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat. While some of our political leaders have a different lifestyle of pomp and affluence when assuming high office, Nik Aziz came out to show the people something unusual and different; that you can have political power without necessarily wanting personal wealth. He continued to live as simply as before.
PAS mistakenly thought that they were in power for so long in Kelantan because the people loved them, when the people actually loved Nik Aziz for his simplicity. Then these PAS leaders conjured the idea of an ulama-style leadership to steer the country in accordance with Islamic laws.
They followed the Iranian style of leadership, the velayat-e faqih, where the ulama have the final say in the affairs of the government and party. PAS leaders do not understand how democracy works, and that’s why they are now in disarray in the face of the party leadership contest.
Bereft of popularity, and lacking in any meaningful service to the people for many years now, PAS has to resurrect the party by introducing God’s law, hudud, even when they know many Kelantanese do not want such punishment.
The difference between this batch of leaders and Nik Aziz with regard to hudud is simply this: after 1990, Tok Guru had to introduce hudud because that was his promise to the Kelantan people if he came to power.
When I told Tok Guru in my several discussions with him that his introduction of hudud in 1993 was not valid under the Constitution, he told me that was for the Federal Government to deal with. He was satisfied just to do his part at state level.
He was not willing to disobey the Constitution or sit down with Umno in partnership to implement hudud. He was respectful of the laws of the country.
The current PAS leaders are of a different breed. They want to table another hudud Bill, post-Nik Aziz. The shine of Nik Aziz is not rubbing off on them.
The current Bill is no different from the earlier 1993 Enactment, yet they still want to pass another one. I know this is a political show but surely this is ridiculous.
The present Kelantan law on hudud is still valid law, so why introduce another one with a few cosmetic changes? I do not think they are willing to implement hudud without amending the Constitution, but even if they do, it just goes to show they have no respect for the laws of the country.
They keep saying that those who oppose hudud are immoral or liars. They keep reminding us that it’s God’s law.
If God is to implement it we have no problem; but the present crop of leaders we do not trust. Most of us who oppose the law are simply concerned that innocent men and women will lose their limbs because of weaknesses in the administration of justice.
God will understand if the Kelantanese leaders try to improve their administration of other matters before taking hudud on. The people of Kelantan must feel confident that the Syariah court administration, land administration, flood prevention scheme, forest rehabilitation, food production and economic programmes for the poor are given priority. Once the state leaders have achieved excellent results from these activities, then we can return to hudud.
I suspect they are doing it the opposite way simply to hide their weaknesses. The ulama leadership is hollow. They were hiding behind an honest and simple man for 25 years, but hide they no longer can.
They think the people will not complain too much about the way they govern the state because the fear of hudud will distract them. This is a mistake of great proportion.
The people of Kelantan and of the entire country will punish PAS for this total disregard for their welfare by insisting on hudud as the criminal law for the country. It’s a political bluff for which they will pay; and they will become a truly marginal party come the next general election. Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, former de facto Law Minister, is now a legal consultant. The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own. The STAR Home News Opinion All Kinds of Everything 19 Mar 2015