Implementing hudud in Malaysia would do justice to neither syariah itself, nor the people subjected to the law, argues lawyer Syahredzan Johan.
Syahredzan said Islam has envisaged a comprehensive system of values for society that includes the spelling out of obligations to God, to the state and to one another, in which hudud serves to punish the most severe crimes.
In such a system, he said, hudud would arguably be able to mete out justice.
“But what PAS is proposing instead is to lift one part of the whole, and to impart it in our non-Islamic, secular or quasi-secular system, and say that this will achieve justice.
“To take one aspect of Islam and to import it into the current system, to me, would not do justice to hudud, and to syariah as a whole. Hudud should only be implemented when all the institutions of the state are in line with Syariah law.
“It is almost as if you take the engine of a Ferarri, and you put it in a Kancil,” he told a forum at the Peace Symposium in Kuala Lumpur last night.
Syahredzan (photo) said this was why one could immediately point to problems in the event PAS manages to implement hudud in Kelantan.
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang had twice submitted a Private Member’s Bill to Parliament calling for amendments to the Federal Constitution to pave way for the implementation of hudud, the Islamic penal system.
Hudud is a part of the syariah criminal law system, dealing specifically with punishments for five different crimes - theft, robbery, apostasy, illicit sex and false accusation of illicit sex.
Its punishments include lashes (false accusation of illicit sex), amputation of the hand or foot (for theft), and death (for murder), depending on the circumstances of the crime.
However, as with all other Private Member’s Bills presented to Parliament in Malaysia, Hadi’s bill was never discussed nor voted upon in the august House.
‘Hudud will create inequalities, breed injustice’
Syahredzan said that if implemented, problems would arise such as some citizens being subjected to two sets of criminal law, in which Muslims would be subjected to heavier penalties than non-Muslims, among others.
“So instead of achieving justice, PAS’ hudud will instead create inequalities and breed injustice,” he said.
Echoing Syahredzan’s sentiments was the chairperson of the UK-based NGO International Human Rights Committee, Iftikhar Ahmad Ayaz.
Iftikhar (photo) said in his keynote speech to the symposium that Islam is meant to create the conditions of a righteous society, in which hudud then serves as a deterrent to clear acts of disregard to the law.
Using theft as an example, he said committing such a crime would be unimaginable with an Islamic economic system in place, which gives the freedom to earn wealth, will not discourage healthy competition but reduces the chance of wealth accumulating in the hands of only a handful of people.
“The Islamic system of punishments has the power to uproot crime and create an amazing atmosphere of peace and security. The attempt to introduce the Islamic penal code in a non-Muslim society which is ignorant of Islamic values, restrictions, and prohibitions, would be like attempting to grow strawberries in the desert.
“Even in a country or society that is predominantly Muslim, introducing the Islamic penal code successfully would not be possible until that society has, within reason, immersed in the spirit of Islamic morals,” Iftikhar said.
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