27 SEPTEMBER 2016
The stand taken by Foreign Minister Anifah Aman of Sabah UMNO that he will not support the Hudud Bill is welcome news. We commend him on being the first UMNO member to openly declare his opposition to the Bill, and for prioritising the harmony amongst the people of Sabah. We are also glad that Sarawak DCM Abang Johari has reiterated Sarawak BN’s opposition to the Hudud Bill, as stated by CM Adenan Satem in April.
I have made our stand against hudud very clear on many occasions, both in and out of the state legislative assembly. The importance placed on Sarawak having no official religion and on our freedom of religion is reflected in these points being the first of the 18/20 points in the Malaysia Agreement, and stated clearly in the Cobbold Report. Furthermore, our forefathers had signed the Malaysia Agreement with a secular state, and that must remain so.
According to Constitutional lawyer Tommy Thomas, ‘in addition to enjoying constitutional status, the 20 points also have international law status as being part of treaty obligations between sovereign nations. In consequence, if any provision of the 20 points is breached, the United Kingdom can, in law, take up the matter; whether, as a political fact, its government does so is an altogether different matter. Further, such a breach may be justiciable in the Courts of England and Malaysia.’ [The Social Contract :
Malaysia’s Constitutional Covenant; Paper presented at Malaysian Law Conference, KL, 2007.]
I hope that our lawmakers will realise that the Hudud Bill is unconstitutional, one of the reasons being that it seeks to empower the state to legislate on criminal law, which is a federal matter. Hudud law will result in different punishments for the same crime depending on the religion of the offender; this goes against the principle of equality for all as guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.
Islamic scholars and lawyers have said that it is impossible to implement hudud law in a country that is saddled with injustice, corruption and poor governance. Malaysia being one such country, PAS leaders would do well to focus their efforts on improving the governance of the country instead of pursuing Hudud law.
We hope that other UMNO leaders will follow the Sabah and Sarawak BN lead and speak up against the Hudud Bill. We are thankful that there are leaders who have the courage to make a stand on an issue of such crucial importance to us Malaysians. Dare we hope that we can similarly stand together on other issues so plain and obvious such as corruption, injustice, politicising of religion, oppression of the natives over their NCR lands, and the like?
For Sarawak and Sabah, it is imperative that we remain united and speak in one voice to reclaim and protect our rights. Should Hudud law ever be implemented in Malaya, we will have to review the Malaysia Agreement and consider our options for breach of agreement.
Chairman, KEADILAN Sarawak / ADUN N81 Ba’ Kelalan