KJ John PublishedIn my last column, I argued that Hadi’s hadd bill is problematic because of maliciousness and the deceptive way it was tabled/not tabled yet. Even Marina Mahathir’s column on the subject was rejected by The Star.
The federal government’s executive authority, namely the cabinet of ministers, allowed the tabling the Hadd Bill without due process and adequate consensus building within the cabinet.
From the post-cabinet noise and objections by MCA, MIC and Gerakan, obviously the PM’s approval of this bill being tabled was not based on a consensus. The PDBS president rejected it completely and the CM of Sarawak has now said a flat ‘No’. They both warned about a reaction from Sabah and Sarawakian communities and parties.
This part 2 of my column will argue that the bill is unconstitutional and a backdoor way to sneaking a redefinition of hudud; without good and correct due consensus-building process if they are honest and sincere, and not just playing politics. It is a backdoor creep of state-enacted Islamic laws.
I have warned already warned elsewhere about the dangers of such a deceptive and backdoor way of negotiating for real change. Please refer to my FMT opinion piece if interested.
Our federation is alive
The Federation of Malaysia is a legal entity in the international community of nation-states. It has a life of its own outside the leadership and all its other constituent members of Malaysia. It has history, geography and is not simply defined by politics alone. Life was breathed into the federation when the original four constituent states agreed and signed to form the federation. Singapore left subsequently.
We are a member of the United Nations and therefore have responsibilities and obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the UN and all Malaysian constituent communities. This deal was signed and ratified by over 160 nation states after the two world wars. All of us do understand that dark history of the world and the past.
We are also a community because we share common social and moral set of rules which define those values of the constitution of the federation in 1963. They were put on record in the Rukunegara of Malaysia in 1970. These were all negotiated and agreed towards the formation of Malaysia. Even our royal households agreed. We have to honour all of them today, if we want to sustain the unity agenda of that Rukunegara.
Therefore we are a nation-state and citizenry with equal human rights, as any other nations or peoples on earth within the framework of the UN. For that matter, the UN even moderated Sabah and Sarawak electing to form Malaysia, after their independence from Britain. They now have their own independence celebrations, as it should be. Their Merdeka and the Malayan Merdeka are fundamentally different.
Consequently, Professor Emeritus Shad Saleem Farouqi has called his collation of columns on the Federal Constitution: Document of Destiny. We should all study and understand that document. But my honest fear is that neither the cabinet ministers nor legislators who agreed with the tabling of Hadi’s hadd bill have either studied or understood the full implications of the nature and structure of our sacred document.
Politics is secular, never sacred
The Federal Constitution, our document of destiny, declares itself ‘supreme’. Supremacy of the written word is not hard to understand and accept. Only non-rational but totally emotional persons who have weak faith boundaries cannot understand and appreciate this concept of ‘secular’.
Therefore, allow me to use the language of my teacher of rationality and the methods of science. He uses set theory from mathematics to define ‘the set as the sacred’. God Almighty is the Sacred. Then the definition of secular as a subset becomes easier to comprehend and agree with. It becomes a smaller part of the sacred wherein the beholders have the freedom to not believe also.
Therefore the hadd limit in this sphere of the secular is the agreed non-use of religion or specific religious values to define truths about life. We also agree to use rational forms of agreeable dialogue and sometimes also agreeing to disagree; agreeably. That was the spirit of our Rukunegara.
Within such politics of engagement within the secular space, logic is accepted but abuse of religion is rejected for the sake of being inclusive about multi-dimensional truths that do not require specific and dictated faith beliefs. These seek to define good values and shared morality.
Such values of morality are generalised extensions of the particular faith limits of belief, but can also accommodate non-belief or unbelief. Usually those values exist from religious or faith-based codes or doctrines based on personalised ‘I-Belief statements’; which are never irrational but always beyond reason.
Human and social conduct
The only race in the world is the human race; and the only other of TV fame called the ‘Amazing Race’. Most people often confuse race with ethnicity and human conduct with animal behaviour. Therefore, most of our theories about human nature and our subjective views about them were never a serious subject that many of us may have considered or studied.
Any voluntary human conduct is actually based on both; our theories about animal behaviour and the full nature of humans. Such theories distinguish and differentiate human intentions from animal behaviour as innate animal conditioned behaviour. As humans, we must know the full difference; otherwise we, too, adopt animal behaviour and make choices to behave like them.
Within cultures, this value and view about the difference between animal behaviour and human choice-making, is the basis of all human community development theories. While animals can behave in hordes, and sometimes almost human-like conduct; they are never a community as in human societies.
Human and social conduct based on free will and choice is always human, and separates us from the animal kingdom. Worldwide, even in societies that practiced cannibalism, that practice is now only history.
Unity in human life, while accepting and appreciating differences is the greatest challenge of all modern life and living. Every society is today challenged by underappreciation of ethnic and faith-based differences. Therefore, we in Malaysia have a golden chance to make and do things right, good, and true for the world to see. My prayer is that we will not screw up that universal spotlight of opportunity.