Ministerial moral insight: A brief comment

— Clive Kessler
The Malaysian Insider
Oct 25, 2012

OCT 25 — The infliction of the hudud punishments will not affect, or have any impact upon, non-Muslims, the minister has sought to assure everybody ( “Hudud will not impact non-Muslims, minister says”, The Malaysian Insider, October 24).

Just consider for a moment.

The state will inflict the hudud punishments on some of its citizens. On their bodies, and brutally.

Since it will be acting as the state, and not as some instrument of private punishment or vengeful enforcement, it will be doing so in the name of all of its citizens. That is what, by definition, modern states are.

So all of the state’s citizens, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, will be complicit in, and will share moral responsibility for, the infliction of those punishments.

And, as a result, their nature as “moral agents” will be transformed by that complicity, by their dragooned participation in and shared authorship of those mandatory stonings, amputations and the like.

Yet the minister says that these non-Muslim citizens will be in no way affected, or “impacted.”

It is an assurance that is entirely unconvincing. One that is patently inadequate, ill-founded and wrong.

People are entitled to expect more — and better, both in intellectual credibility and moral sensibility — from a leading minister of the government of the day.

If he and his government seriously want to proceed in that dire direction, they will have to devise some better, and far more serious, arguments than that weak claim.

The pathetic inadequacy of this reasoning will be readily apparent to any intelligent high school student or undergraduate.

So how can it convince a minister and prove acceptable to the entire Cabinet of which he is a member?

In political life there is no end to bizarre mysteries.

One is sometimes tempted to think that the more outrageously daft ministerial statements are simply practical jokes by a wickedly playful cosmic comedian.

* Clive Kessler is Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of New South Wales, Sydney.

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 25 October 2012 - 10:17 am

    Forget the obvious, when a Chinese corporation launch a takeover of a Muslim company and the unhappy loser cries theft, they won’t ask for Hudud?

  2. #2 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 25 October 2012 - 10:17 am

    Yeah, right..

  3. #3 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 25 October 2012 - 10:54 am

    ‘…. an assurance that is entirely unconvincing ….. patently inadequate, ill-founded and wrong….’

    We have been getting too many ‘assurances’ by our Ministers e.g. Rais, Nazri, Khir Baharom, Hishamuddin, Muhyiddin why even Mr Transformer himself, Najib.

    When the government ‘assures’, we should all be wary and be afraid, very afraid. They definitely got something up their sleeves and sarongs.

    Are the people ‘assured’ by all these ‘assurances’? Past and current experiences show that all these ‘assurances’, legal or otherwise, have not be fulfilled. The 55 year old-plus BN government has always twisted and turned whenever it likes to suit itself but yet it unashamedly says its ‘promises have been kept and fulfilled’.

    But the people know better. This is definitely a government not to be believed or relied upon and the coming general elections should see it swept away. The people are much wiser now. Only dirty tricks can prevent the coming tsunami.

  4. #4 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 25 October 2012 - 11:05 am

    Take the many Islamic laws at National and at state level. Also the many local law, by-laws and regulations.

    When these were introduced umpteen and more years ago, the non-Muslims were a.ssured that there will be no impact on them. See what has happened since?

    They sweet talk you into agreeing, then when approved, they whack you.

    • #5 by cemerlang on Thursday, 25 October 2012 - 12:56 pm

      A law that states that non Muslims should not be subjected to the Syariah Hudud because they do not believe in that religion which means all laws of the said religion are null and void for the non Muslims.

  5. #6 by yhsiew on Thursday, 25 October 2012 - 11:47 am

    Just imagine that a Malaysian non-Muslim goes for holiday in a foreign country. The people of that foreign country ask this non-Muslim, “Why is your government so cruel and so uncivilized?” I am sure this non-Muslim will be hurt and feel embarrassed.

  6. #7 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 25 October 2012 - 2:00 pm

    ///non-Muslim citizens will be in no way affected, or “impacted”/// – Minister. Can the Minister answer how to address the following 4 situations? (1) two thieves in same the enterprise of stealing are caught: can we have the hands of the muslim offender amputated and the other non muslim offender punished by a mere couple of months jail? (2) as far unlawful fornification between a non muslim Alvin and a muslim Aminah (uploaded on Internet), doesn’t Islamic law prescribe flogging punishments for both Muslim and non-Muslim offenders? (3) For a muslim (married) woman raped by a non muslim man, which law will apply? The non Muslim man convicted of rape under secular law and the muslim woman victim convicted of adultery (since 4 reliable Muslim male eye-witnesses to rape were not present)? (4) In a case of illicit sex between a young non muslim man and a married muslim woman, will the muslim woman be punished by stoning and the young non muslim man not punished under secular law or will he be equally punished by flogging/banishment under Islamic law? These are just a few examples. There are many other permulations. Its simply not practical to subject Muslim to Hudud and non Muslim to secular law/punishment when all are interacting in same society. Right now we already have a lot of problems with “conversion” cases.

  7. #8 by monsterball on Thursday, 25 October 2012 - 2:09 pm

    When a government encourages corruptions….there is no morality nor dignity involved.
    If they have….they will be exposing themselves as rouges and thieves.
    They have mastered the art to tell half truths and even uttering nonsensical stuffs…to project their image of a caring responsible government.
    They are expert con-men in politics.

  8. #9 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 25 October 2012 - 3:30 pm

    See Malaysiakini:

    ‘Orang Asli children slapped for not reciting doa’

    A group of parents have lodged police reports against a teacher at SK Bihai in Pos Bihai, near Gua Musang in Kelantan, for slapping their children because they did not recite the doa (Islamic prayer) after having their lunch.

    One of the parents, Atar Pedik, said his two 12-year-old girls were slapped about 1.30pm on Tuesday, after the children were made to recite the doa even though they are not Muslims.

    See Malaysiakini for full story.

    So what has this Minister has to say now about his ‘as.urance’ to non-Muslims?

    Where is the Gua Musang MP ?

  9. #10 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 25 October 2012 - 3:38 pm

    Even before Hudud implementation, non employees in govt bureaucracies and schools are given a disapproval look if not snide comment by their superiors for not covering their aurat in their dressing.

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