Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Hadi’s hadd - undemocratic and malicious

Malaysiakini
KJ John     Published

I am a Malaysian citizen with two forms of citizenship certificates. Therefore, I am no ‘pendatang’ and no second class citizen, by any definition. I have all the human rights and courtesies agreed to and approved by the UN Declaration of Human Rights. That right is not just universal but also supreme in Malaysia as defined by the constitution of the Federation of Malaysia.

That right defines my ability to move within the rest of Malaysia, and all other legitimate human freedoms traditionally recognised by all societies. That right also defines my freedom of faith, freedom of residence, and all other guaranteed freedoms; including the right to be heard and understood about my concerns about all aspects of poor and incompetent governance of this nation-state. I served faithfully in the Malaysian Public Service for 32 years.

Therefore, I find it amusing at best, that so many Malay Muslims demonstrate their ignorance about human rights of every citizen. Ignorance is the most dangerous feature of modern inconvenience. It is an inconvenient truth about an operational versus strategic view of rights and privileges.
Malay Malaysians can choose to give up their rights about faith matters; I will never agree to this or do so. It is a fundamental truth matter of human dignity and each of our destinies.

Flawed logic repeated

Therefore, I find the deputy prime minister and Umno vice-president’s misinformed and irrational view as shocking. He appears to simply read out speeches without appreciating and understanding its content within our context. He said that the Hadi’s Hadd Bill when finally approved will not affect non-Muslims.

The proponents of the bill on the other hand say that the BN was also consulted. But three major BN partners have made it obvious that they were not consulted. Someone is lying, but who?

I attended a series of talks by Professor Abdullahi Ahmed An-Naim, a Sudanese Professor of Law from Emory University, and a recent visitor to Malaysia. He spoke on many topics related to Islam and Democracy. I agree with most of his Islamic worldview positions and teachings about Islam, democracy, and meaning of the secular world.

But, I do not think either Umno or PAS followers attended any of his talks or were interested to understand him. They do not rely sufficiently on rationality but instead repeat faith matters either memorised in Arabic or simply as taught to them, without reasoning them through. Let us review what PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang may have in mind.

Hadd - Limit or prohibition: pl. hudud. A punishment fixed in the Quran and hadith for crimes considered to be against the rights of God. The six crimes for which punishments are fixed are theft (amputation of the hand), illicit sexual relations (death by stoning or one hundred lashes), making unproven accusations of illicit sex (eighty lashes), drinking intoxicants (eighty lashes), apostasy (death or banishment), and highway robbery (death).

Strict requirements for evidence (including eyewitnesses) have severely limited the application of hudud penalties. Punishment for all other crimes is left to the discretion of the court; these punishments are called tazir. With the exception of Saudi Arabia, hudud punishments are rarely applied, although recently fundamentalist ideologies have demanded the reintroduction of hudud, especially in Sudan, Iran, and Afghanistan.

The above Oxford Islamic Online definition and clarification starts with the basic doctrine of Hadd. Hudud is plural of Hadd and seeks to limit or prohibit “crimes against the rights of God”.

My question to Hadi of the PAS and BN leadership is why the need for more limits to federal criminal offences? Are our current common criminal codes for all citizens and visitors not good enough? Are Muslims really so exceptional, as questioned by Prof Abullahi of Emory? If so, what, why and how? Where in the Quran does it speak about such exceptionalism of Malay Muslims? I suspect it is only racism and bigotry.

Nonetheless, the content of this column will explore the ideals of Islam and Democracy but premised only upon our Federal Constitution and how the current leadership of Umno (plus PAS’s blind cultural agenda) seek to abuse our Document of Destiny by their rather whimsical and non-rational arguments.

Undemocratic and malicious agenda

I refer to the deputy prime minister’s argument. He argues that the Hadd Bill, as currently tabled and framed under Hadi’s Private Member’s Bill, is only designed to impact Muslims and will not include non-Muslims. Really! How can that be true? Does he really not know that he is lying?

How can that be a right and correct assumption by the deputy prime minister of the country? Does he really understand the meaning and legality of a federation premised upon the different and respective Federal and State Lists?

Moreover, is this ‘Hadi’s hadd’ really needed for the good of all Malaysian citizens in all federal jurisdictions to live under good governance principles? Or, is it simply the reflection of the weaknesses of Malay Muslims in Malaysia? Is that not why Kelantan is already such a good example of alleged poor state governance?

Do we really need to go the way of Brunei, where the sultan is allegedly above God’s Laws, for us to recognise and deliver good and excellent governance? Is not our root problem bribery and corruption of values and little or nothing to do with lack of enforcement of hudud cases? In my view lying and untruth telling is our more serious national problem.

(Parts II and III will be continued in the next few weeks to raise and highlight these issues for full understanding and appreciation of all Malaysians, but only written in English.)

KJ JOHN was in public service for 29 years. The views expressed here are his personal views and not those of any institution he is involved with. Write to him at kjjohn@ohmsi.net with any feedback or views.

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