We must move towards common ground instead of building up walls between us.
FOR most of us, our twenties are likely to be the most intellectually and emotionally challenging phase of our lives as we explore ideologies, philosophy and religion to form our own opinion.
On a societal level, our young 57-year-old country, too, is still constantly going through bouts of figuring itself out.
While we are privileged to enjoy great diversity in terms of religious, racial, linguistic and regional backgrounds, there are some who do not hesitate to jeopardise national harmony in pursuit of their own agendas.
For the past few weeks the hot topic has been the possible implementation of PAS’ hudud law.
I find it difficult to see why such a fundamental change is sought ... one that would scrutinise one half of a multi-cultural society at a time when it is clearly more important for us to form common ground than build walls between us.
Those opposed to PAS’ hudud law would say it is archaic, inhumane by today’s standards and a threat to both human rights and women’s rights.
However, I’m more concerned about its effect on a country that boasts harmony amid its people’s diversity.
I do not oppose my Muslim countrymen from pursuing what’s religiously rightful to them, but for hudud to be implemented in a multi-religious society, it would be like a separatist move that would unnecessarily highlight the distinction between the Muslims and non-Muslims.
In Malaysia, that distinction is largely a racial one as well.
I’m very opposed to any policies or systems that encourage polarisation among Malaysians.
As it is, we are divided and possibly disintegrating under the weight of separate school policies, disparate economic policies and political parties that fight for selected groups of Malaysians instead of the broader national interest.
It is truly sad when we can no longer go to each other’s open houses and attend functions in each other’s place of worship.
Recall Nur Damia Irsalina, whose parents ended up catching Australian motivational speaker Nick Vujicic at a petrol station because they could not attend his talk at a church.
Like Vujicic, Nur Damia was also born with tetra-amelia syndrome.
Vujicic was a source of inspiration to the parents as their seven-year-old was also born without limbs.
Surely one can go to an inspirational talk held in a church and hold fast to one’s faith?
In a chat with civil liberties lawyer Syahredzan Johan, he says when law enforcers take one aspect of the Syariah and plant it in a secular system, it would cause injustice and inequality instead of achieving the justice sought after by Islam.
“The reality is that we are a secular country and not an Islamic state. Therefore, implementing hudud in Malaysia would run foul of certain provisions of the Federal Constitution,” Syahredzan said.
Taking all that into thought, the imposition of hudud law on half the country while secular law rules the other half serves only to further divide us.
Diversity breeds creativity, division breeds contempt.
Syarie lawyer Rosli Dahlan said hudud is only one aspect of Syariah law, but it was more important to understand the objective of laws in human society.
“If the premature or improper implementation of hudud will create injustice, anarchy and chaos, then what purpose does it serve? I cannot understand this obsession with hudud by justifying it as the need to implement God’s law and justice system.
“God does not need justice. We, mankind, do!”
A recent Time article points out that Brunei’s move to implement hudud could be nothing more than a ploy to shore up the Sultan’s popularity.
Looking at Pakistan and Sudan’s interpretations of hudud, it appears politicians have used hudud as a way of fulfilling their own agendas and motives, instead of justice.
I place my faith in our parliamentary democracy to decide what is best for Malaysia.
I believe that the country’s economic and sociopolitical progress are testimony to why our current laws are enough, as long as they are upheld in the right manner, by an independent police force and judiciary.
Liz Lee believes that Malaysians of the 2010s are ready to engage in meaningful and constructive debates. The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own. he STAR Home News Opinion June 8, 2014