Karpal’s last thoughts on hudud, sedition act and ties in Pakatan

The Malaysian Insider
APRIL 29, 2014
LATEST UPDATE: APRIL 29, 2014 04:59 PM

In one of his last interviews before his sudden death in an auto accident on April 17, Karpal Singh spoke to DAP mouthpiece The Rocket on matters close to his heart and his political struggle, including the hudud, the Sedition Act that he was charged with, and inter-party relations with PAS and PKR.

Karpal’s (pic) interview, which is available on The Rocket’s website and its April edition, is reproduced with permission.

Q: You have been frank about issues close to your heart and never hold back in taking a strong stand on issues that other DAP leaders don’t dare to vocalise. Why?

I have been elected by my constituents and it is my duty as an elected member of parliament to speak the views of the people. As long as one abides by the law and is in line with democratic principles under which we operate, no leader should be afraid to air his views.

It would be a sad day for DAP if we hold back just so we don’t get into trouble. It won’t be in the interest of the party or the country. I articulate certain things and issues that are close to the hearts of the people I represent, not just a party stance per se. Of course the party stance is also in line with the constitution.

Q: Has your approach to politics changed now that DAP is a part of Pakatan Rakyat?

There is no such thing as a personal approach to politics; the approach must be in line with our principles. Each of us has a different style. It is the ultimate results that count. The motives or objectives of the party are reflected in what I speak.

Q: Do you think the BN-controlled media has often spun your comments out of context?

They sometimes give my statements a certain twist. And it is not easy for us to correct that because whatever I say as the point of correction doesn’t see print.

Q: Your remarks have been viewed as being principled for staunch DAP supporters. But for DAP partners’ supporters, especially PAS’s Malay voters, it has turned them off especially with regard to hudud and Islamic state issues. How do you explain this?

It is stating what it is. We are not an Islamic state. Malaysia is a secular state and the constitutional provisions are there. There is no place for hudud laws in the country. What I say is always backed up by law or reason.

It is not easy for our coalition partner PAS to accept it, which has its own principles and ideology. But on the other hand, DAP’s stance, consistent with the law and the constitution must be made clear, however painful it may be to them. We hope they understand that I am not doing this with a bad motive or mala fide.

It is not an easy task; sometimes it requires us to reconcile with the irreconcilable.

How do we do that? On the one hand, it is important that we state our principles and also what our supporters expect. We have been put where we are today as a result of the confidence the people have in us. And I don’t think we should betray them. I think it is a clear reflection that our ground would want whatever I have been espousing all these years.

It is difficult to balance the interest of the party and the interests of the coalition parties, particularly for PAS and DAP. With the sensitivities that are involved, it is not easy, but the party stand must be made clear.

Q: If hudud proponents were to moot for a referendum, what would DAP’s stance be? Would it be an easy jump towards hudud if the proponents have the majority?

In a referendum, anything that is put up for voting must be in line with constitutional provisions, such as the contents and the terms of reference stated in the referendum.

There are certain provisions of the constitution which form the basic structure of the constitution. Any attempt made to change that basic structure will be working towards the destruction of the constitution, which we can’t do.

The matter of hudud has been questioned in court in 1988 and it may happen again. In that instance, the federal court unanimously ruled that the country operates by secular law, which means that Malaysia is not an Islamic state. You can’t have an Islamic state where secular law is the order of the day.

Q: In other words, the entire constitution has to be rewritten?

The basic structure of the constitution has to be completely changed. It will be destroying the document upon which all Malaysians abide by. It’s a social contract and the terms of the contract must be adhered to.

Q: Each PR party has its individual strengths and the people know that we stand for our principles. How do we move from mere convenient cooperation to genuine relationship after all that we have been through for the last 15 years?

We can definitely improve on our cooperation much more. It is in the interest of the parties to cooperate so that the ultimate result is stronger support from the people. Also, there should be more cooperation in substance than just the label. We have to strive for something more practical. There is no question of both DAP and PAS merging, in view of the differing ideologies.

With the results shown in 2008 and 2013 it has been fantastic. We can improve further provided there is close working relationship between PAS and DAP; with 89 seats in parliament, who would have ever imagined it.

Q: On the Allah case, what do you make out of the PR stance?

It is good that the upper echelon of PAS agree that the word “Allah” can be used by non-Muslims and this has been supported by many other Islamic countries that have agreed that Allah is not exclusive to the Muslims.

Q: What are your views on the Sedition Act? Notwithstanding the definition of sedition under BN, how would you define something that is seditious or has seditious tendencies?

Sedition is something that is archaic. During the colonial times, it was the practice to stifle the voice of and arrest people who opposed the government, anything you say against them would be deemed as seditious.

But the country has become independent; all that should have been done over with.

This (the Sedition Act) is a 1948 law. That’s 66 years ago. It is a long time ago. I think this sedition act should have been pensioned off long ago.

In fact, the prime minister is on public record saying that it will be repealed soon. But that doesn’t seem to be happening. It has been enforced with more intensity now. The numbers of leaders that have being charged are quite a few.

Q: What motivates you to participate in and stay in politics?

I always thought as a lawyer, the political arena is something very natural to aspire to be in. Politics complements the law.

After the May 13, 1969, riots I decided to join a multiracial party to ensure that whatever happened then will never happen again. And the best party was and still is the DAP, which I joined in 1970 and have remained in till today.

I would like to carry on as long as I can, health permitting. I believe I can still contribute, but there are forces out there who want to stop me.

And as for one who wants to be an MP, you must be prepared to stand up and do what is required of an elected representative. We can’t be frightened and not say certain things to avoid getting into trouble, If you are, then you have made the wrong choice. – April 29, 2014.

  1. #1 by pulau_sibu on Tuesday, 29 April 2014 - 6:33 pm

    it would be such a nice society if we don’t need any laws to punish the people. why we have religions and yet there are still bad individuals around? does this mean that religions are useless? failure of religions.

    • #2 by cemerlang on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 - 2:07 am

      similarly, there are human laws around; so many laws written and yet all these do not deter anyone from doing anything wrong. in additon, there is something called conscience

  2. #3 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 29 April 2014 - 8:15 pm

    “..means the destruction of the Constitution”..is very very good reminder. Tunku Abdul Rahman, our most revered founder, opposed Hudud and advised even in his dying breath not to do it. Hudud means the destruction of the founding principles of this country – the end of the thing founded called Malaysia. The decent thing to do would be to change the name of this country and allow its breakup..

    • #4 by cemerlang on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 - 2:10 am

      what will hudud do for the corrupted ones ?

  3. #5 by worldpress on Tuesday, 29 April 2014 - 9:02 pm

    Yeah let discuss final this issue..if any possibilities is better allow its breakup…so you can do your obligation…on the other parts we maintain our multi-culture…as it know when their laws extending…it be included restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing their religions this will be in the condition…especially those conservative will support these..

  4. #6 by worldpress on Tuesday, 29 April 2014 - 9:06 pm

    it written in the law book…will effect when reach full implement

  5. #7 by worldpress on Tuesday, 29 April 2014 - 9:14 pm

    If they insist their laws extended to full…they are putting us all into the trap…between their god laws and federal constitution..they have their obligation but should not be sacrificed at our expense of our rights and federal constitution…both will be in trap….so how can we solve in this situation?

  6. #8 by worldpress on Tuesday, 29 April 2014 - 9:46 pm

    Please do not forget there are those are Malaysians not willing colonize by middle east culture and their GOD

    please how can we solve in this situation?

    • #9 by cemerlang on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 - 2:13 am

      we talk about merdeka and what is merdeka if we are free from one colonizer but jump into another ?

  7. #10 by winstony on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 - 8:10 am

    Let’s get one thing very, very straight!
    Secular laws or hudud laws doesn’t really matter to those governing the country.
    Haven’t seen enough of the ways that they are not touched by any laws?
    Laws are only meant for the ordinary folks in this country.
    The same goes for other countries governed by hudud laws.
    Only the extraordinarily naive or stupid will believe that laws, no matter what laws, will be applied equally and/or fairly.
    So, hudud laws will only end up punishing the ordinary folks!

  8. #11 by worldpress on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 - 8:51 am

    Don’t not trust fully their say..the law they belief stated ‘Muslims should engage in Taqiyya and lie to non-Muslims to advance Islam.’

    taqiyya (pronounced tak-e-ya) : precautionary dissimulation or deception and keeping one’s convictions secret and a synonymous term, kitman: mental reservation and dissimulation or concealment of malevolent intentions…

  9. #12 by worldpress on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 - 9:36 am

    Please explain. Tell the TRUE COLORS please

  10. #13 by worldpress on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 - 1:55 pm

    earlier is too short summary.
    Please clarify is follow is it correct, we need to know what human deal with, tell the true please

    Reliance of the Traveler (p. 746 – 8.2) – “Speaking is a means to achieve objectives. If a praiseworthy aim is attainable through both telling the truth and lying, it is unlawful to accomplish through lying because there is no need for it. When it is possible to achieve such an aim by lying but not by telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible (N:i.e. when the purpose of lying is to circumvent someone who is preventing one from doing something permissible), and obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory… it is religiously precautionary in all cases to employ words that give a misleading impression…

    “One should compare the bad consequences entailed by lying to those entailed by telling the truth, and if the consequences of telling the truth are more damaging, one is entitled to lie.

    Please clarify is follow summary correct or not
    There are two forms of lying to non-believers that are permitted under certain circumstances, taqiyya and kitman. These circumstances are typically those that advance the cause Islam – in some cases by gaining the trust of non-believers in order to draw out their vulnerability and defeat them.

  11. #14 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 - 1:58 pm

    One thing I want to add or rather question:

    On Islamic doctor doing amputation under Hudud, I believe under most licensing jurisdiction, you lose your license to practise – meaning that if any doctor is allowed to do this in Malaysia, I believe, they will not be allowed to practise in most places outside Malaysia and can be sued if they do even in an emergency meaning it destroys the credentials of ALL doctors in Malaysia..

  12. #15 by narasimam on Thursday, 1 May 2014 - 5:28 am

    what a loss. same scale as the loss of gandhi to the indians back in 1947. a light has gone but in its place will be enlightment that will illuminate all our lives . the grief is real and the sadness profound as if we, all of us have lost our own beloved father, brother and mentor. his death will create a divine force and a rallying call for malaysians to say enough is enough and take back our beloved nation from the evil marauders. jangan main-main. long live the karpals of malaysia.

You must be logged in to post a comment.