CONFIRMED! Umno NOT able to unite the Malays: Latest hudud card backfires

by Moaz Nair
Malaysia Chronicle
11 August 2012

A self-professed Islamic pondok (a village madrasah) “religious scholar” declared it “haram (forbidden)” for Muslims to support DAP, according to a front page story in Umno’s Utusan Malaysia, but added that MCA and MIC were acceptable because the two BN (Barisan Nasional) parties recognised Islam’s supremacy.

He said that Muslims must not vote for DAP and its two allies PAS and PKR in the federal Opposition pact of PR (Pakatan Rakyat) in the 13th general election that must be called before April next year.

To the majority this statement sounds more politics than Islamic. It only infers how “retarded” a person can be when it comes to understanding Islam. Utusan being UMNO’s mouthpiece, this statement has gravely backfired on the party.

UMNO is shuffling the race-cum-religious cards for political mileage much to the chagrin of right-minded Malaysians. The next general election will only see more non-Muslim and Muslim votes going to the Opposition. Is UMNO aware that DAP, MCA, MIC, Gerakan and other non-Muslim parties and in fact all the non-Muslims in the country recognise that Islam is the official religion of this country?

Has DAP-led Pakatan government in Penang become anti-Islam in Penang since the takeover of the state in 2008? In fact the state government of Penang has done more than BN for the Muslims in Penang just within 4 years to build up a better image of Islam in the state.

“We have no problems with DAP-led government,” commented a mosque Imam in Penang. “They support us and we don’t see them against Islam,” he added.

Not against Islam

Having some reservation for hudud to be implemented by some political parties does not imply that they are anti-Islam.

If hudud is the only criterion for an Islamic state to take place, has not MCA said that they are against the implementation of hudud? DAP too has some reservations on this issue. Even UMNO for that matter is not ready to implement hudud despite having a big number of Muslim members in the party. Does this imply that MCA, DAP and UMNO are all anti-Islam?

This pondok “scholar” has erred in his “scholastic” analysis of Islam from the perspectives of Muslims and non-Muslims. He can be forgiven as he is only running a pondok school and not holding the post of the rector of a reputed Islamic university.

As a religion, Islam is fair and all-encompassing if one goes by the Holy Koran, as it embraces the rights of every single human being on earth. It promulgates racial unity and denounces the exploitation of any person because of his race or religion.

“Let not the hatred of a people swerve you away from justice. Be just, for this is closest to righteousness…” (Quran 5:8)

Politics aside, on hudud a prominent scholar Ali A. Mazrui states that “the punishments laid down fourteen centuries ago had to be truly severe enough to be a deterrent in their day, but since then God has taught us more about crime, its causes, the methods of its investigation, the limits of guilt, and the much wider range of possible punishments.”

With liberal movements in Islam expressing concerns about hadith validity, a major component of how Islamic law is created, questions have arisen about administering certain punishments by some regressive and backward Muslim countries.

Another prominent scholar, Tariq Ramadan opines that “at the incompatibilities with human rights in the way Islamic law is practised in many countries warrant an international moratorium on the punishments of hudud laws until greater scholarly consensus can be reached.”

UMNO and PR could possibly be right here, as they are not yet ready to implement hudud until a scholarly consensus can be reached on the issue.

Not fighting for supremacy of power

DAP and for that matter other parties representing the minorities and the non-Muslims are not fighting for supremacy of power in this country. They are not asking for free lunch but mere fairness and are striving to seek social justice for all – majority and minority groups.

They cherish the Constitution and respect Islam as the official religion of the country. At the same time they yearn for rights to practice their religion without provocation.

They are just seeking their rights as citizens of this country without questioning the rights of the majority. They seek the rights to worship and profess a religion of their choice. Islam does not prohibit this aspect of a non-Muslim community. Aren’t these guaranteed by Islam in Koran for all human beings?

“Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah [the Creator] hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, which never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.}* (Al-Baqarah 2:256)

The Koran also states:

“Say: “The truth is from your Lord.” Let him who will, believe, and let him who will, reject [it].”(Al-Kahf 18: 29)

To take over the country

DAP is not looking forward to take over the country through elections. The Chinese comprise less than 25 percent of the population. It’s just irrational to assume that a 25-percent population is able to take over power from the majority Malay race in this country.

Neither are the Chinese interested in denouncing Islam as the official religion of this country. The most number of federal seats they could win in the next general election would be about 50 with the rest of the winning seats shared by PAS and PKR.

MCA, MIC and UMNO are in a political pact of Muslims and non-Muslims under BN. And for that matter, DAP is together with PAS and PKR for the same purpose under PR.

Going by the half-baked pondok “scholar’s” theory, if he feels that it is compulsory for the Muslims in PAS, PKR and DAP to reject DAP it must also be made a compulsion for Muslims to reject MCA and the other non-Muslim parties as well as UMNO. Why UMNO? UMNO is not yet ready to implement hudud despite being in power for the past 55 years and having Malay-Muslims as members.

Hudud is an integral part of Islam, no doubt. But punishment is always the last resort in Islam and this comes only when there is social justice in the nation. The cart here has to be put behind the horse.

Beyond that, in our democracy the constitution is supreme. For hudud to be implemented there must be a consensus in parliament and it requires the change of the constitution and this can only be done with more than a two-thirds support. Theoretically, hudud cannot be implemented without the support of the non-Malay and Malay lawmakers.

The scenario now is UMNO is not ready to implement hudud. For hudud to be implemented by PAS it needs the consensus within PR. But PR has affirmed that hudud is not their agenda as their priority would be to fight for social justice. There is thus nothing here to do with anti-Islam in both the political divide.

Lose more votes

It looks like UMNO is going to lose more votes from the Muslims and non-Muslims in the coming general election. This is the problem when we have too many self-professed “half-baked scholars” in the country on Islam who claim to be more knowledgeable about Islam than others.

The problem with majority of the Muslims today is that they may be able to read the Koran but hardly 10 percent of them understand the content of the Koran and the verses therein. Only less than 5 percent may truly understand what the Koran says.

Islamic education in most Muslim countries is not progressive but more of indoctrination. The system does not focus on critical sciences and thinking. Without a critical understanding of the Koranic verses Muslims can be easily exploited by many Muslim opportunists.

It’s always the case of the one-eyed man who will lead the blind. And with no proper education Muslims are left to the mercy of these so-called Muslim “scholars” and leaders.

So when the hudud issue is raised not many Muslims are able to defend the issue in a critical manner this syariah requisite in Islam. Not many Muslims are willing to argue from the critical point of view for fear that they will be labelled as anti-Islam.

Many of those looking at hudud from the Koranic perspective without the hadith are scorned by fellow Muslims. They would always want the hadith to “complement” the Koran.

There are many Islamic scholars these days that have analysed the hudud from a critical point of view even when many others have disagreed with their thoughts. Religion is thus made so dogmatic for the uneducated to consume.

Of course some politicians are happy, as this is the only way they can exploit the ignorant masses. UMNO is doing just this this for their political gains.

Bogey to scare the non-Muslims

The irony is that, there are Malay-Muslim politicians who are also making use of this bogey to scare the non-Muslims. If the non-Muslims are ignorant of hudud they can be forgiven. But why isn’t UMNO taking the pains to explain to their party partners and the non-Muslims the true nature of hudud?

No, they are not interested in this and want the issue to become a “controversy” for their political gains. They have even outsourced this role to MCA – a step that has terribly backfired on UMNO and BN.

As Nik Aziz Nik Mat, the spiritual leader of PAS said, “Hudud is part of the syariah. People cannot be punished according to the whims and impulses of those in power. Punishment must always be tempered with mercy. Harsh punishment can only be meted out as the last resort when they have exhausted all avenues to rehabilitate the criminals.”

What have been practised in some backward Islamic nations are not prescriptions provided by Islam if one were to understand the Koran.

There is capital punishment in Islam, no doubt but with sound reasons. Capital punishment is not only confined to Islam. It is practised all over the world. A murderer when proven guilty fits to be punished by capital punishment. They have the gas chambers and death by hanging.

In China, for instance the corrupt, rapists and murderers are punished in a harsh way too. They are killed under the firing squad. Drug traffickers in many countries are given capital punishment when proven guilty.

Cannot expect much from him

We had a prime minister for 22 years – a Muslim – of the country who would keep on using hudud as a bogey before elections to scare the non-Muslims. Of course the Muslims in the country cannot expect much from him to portray Islam in a positive light for the non-Muslims to appreciate.

Just lately Najib Abdul Razak, the prime minister, was reported to have said that BN is not ready to implement hudud yet even though a few UMNO lawmakers have suggested the idea that hudud be implemented to involve the Muslims and the non-Muslims.

To this suggestion MCA reacted pugnaciously and was reported to have said that MCA will withdraw from BN if UMNO wishes to implement hudud.

Thus going by the pondok “scholar’s” term of reference then Muslims should not vote for all non-Muslim based political parties in the country. How about when this is put the other way round by the non-Muslims: suggesting that all non-Muslims should not vote for Muslim leaders.

Is this the kind of Malaysia we want to cherish?

And for that matter will all the Muslims vote for UMNO or PAS in the next general election? They will not. Since Islam has become the point of contention, why not let the Muslims do the political tussle and the non-Muslims become apolitical?

Will the Muslims be politically united among themselves without the non-Muslims playing a role in politics? This can be food for thought.

  1. #1 by monsterball on Sunday, 12 August 2012 - 9:22 pm

    UMNO b race and religion politics exposed.
    Najib does not live up to his “1Malaysia” slogan promises at all.
    He dare not speak up against fanatics and racists.
    It has always been to divide and rule.
    Without that, UMNO b is weak.
    With a Malaysian first race second, Najib is finished.
    With Unity Najib is cooked.
    Lets wait for this low class magician to perform his next act.

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Sunday, 12 August 2012 - 10:29 pm

    Moaz Nair is an open-minded writer and has given both Muslims and non-Muslims useful information on hudud and the reason why it cannot be implemented in Malaysia at this point in time.

  3. #3 by Jeffrey on Monday, 13 August 2012 - 12:13 am

    To say that its “haram (forbidden)” for Muslims to support DAP may (on standalone basis) be dismissed as a misconceived interpretation of the faith based on a sincere albeit incorrect understanding of the faith but to add further that MCA and MIC were acceptable because the two BN (Barisan Nasional) parties recognised Islam’s supremacy only exposes itself as an insincere and naked politicization of faith to favour BN’s propaganda objective at PR’s expense, as it ignores the facts of:-

    • MCA’s repeated public position disavowing PAS’s theocratic Islamic State and attacks of DAP for partnering (within PR coalition) PAS that upholds the “supremacy” of faith through this platform of theocratic Islamic State;

    • Neither Gerakan, MIC or for that matter other BN component parties have said anything to suggest that they uphold the “supremacy” of faith in the sense that cleric reported by Utusan has said; indeed all they have done and said show more that that they have accepted the supremacy of UMNO which is not the same as supremacy of the faith, for even UMNO itself has not advocated the Islamic state as stridently as PAS (if implementation of hudud and changing the Constitution to accommodate it were used as a measure of submission to supremacy of the faith).

    Undoubtedly the whole purpose of reporting such an opinion –that its haram to vote DAP for reason that it does not submit to supremacy of the faith – is calculated to influence Mak Ciks and Pak Ciks in the rural and semi-rural areas proceeding on the assumption that their minds are simple enough to be influenced by and accept unquestioningly whatever said by someone who holds claims to being a religious scholar/cleric, no matter how silly, inconsistent or contrary to common sense.
    In fact I feel silly to comment on it.

  4. #4 by sheriff singh on Monday, 13 August 2012 - 5:12 am

    The SS UMNO ship has sprug many, many leaks and is fast sinking. All its Keptan can do is to use cellophane tape to patch up the leaks. It is a goner.

  5. #5 by Bigjoe on Monday, 13 August 2012 - 8:05 am

    The most despicable thing about UMNO when it comes to debating the Hudud issue – THEY ARE LYING WHY THEY WON’T IMPLEMENT IT. In other words, the Mahathirist is more than willing to implement Hudud – even Mahathir says he differ with PAS ‘on their interpretation’ of hudud as if there a great difference in interpretation what it is.

    The truth is the real reason why UMNO has not implement Hudud is simply MONEY..Implementing Hudud would drive away foreign AND domestic investments, the economy would take a dive, govt coffers would dry up AND it would get in their way of stealing and abuse of power if they can’t control the courts given there are still many independent minded ulamas.

    Idelologically there is NOT that much difference between Mahathirist UMNO and traditional PAS anymore – its only about money..If there is any chance of saving original Malay nationalism of Tunku for secular Malaysia, then UMNO must be split and the only way that will happen is if UMNO/BN is kicked out of office.

  6. #6 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Monday, 13 August 2012 - 8:42 am

    We-we, mca mic gerakan …… herebbby ddecalaree our-ur complete anndd aabsoluutee and unquestioning ssubmissionn to the supremacy-cy of islam-jenis-umno.

    …. a mass joint public declaration by the kutu parties of barisan.

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