Despite Pakatan’s hudud row, grass not greener on BN’s side, analysts say

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
The Malay Mail Online
December 23, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 23 ― A public and intractable row over hudud is raising questions over the viability of Pakatan Rakyat (PR), but Barisan Nasional (BN) faces equally awkward problems despite its calmer surface, according to several political analysts.

They believe that while PR’s public disagreements ― especially between DAP and PAS ― could affect the pact’s future, the disputes were reflective of the equal footing the two parties have along with PKR.

The same cannot be said of BN where Umno stands above and apart from the rest of its coalition partners, the analysts added, citing issues such as Malay rights and even the same Islamic penal code that is giving PR such grief.

BN’s apparent calm was the result of Umno asserting its dominance and political agenda at the expense of the ruling coalition’s weaker component parties.

“As for Barisan, the hardening of the racial and religious card within Umno and major differences in views about nation building as a whole indicate a larger crisis which has been long postponed by the enjoyment and sharing ― even if unequal ― of the fruits of power.

“How much longer can BN stay together as a coalition is, however, clearly equally problematic,” Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI) director Dr Lim Teck Ghee told Malay Mail Online when contacted.

Lim said that the split within PR on hudud has “long been in the making”, and that its coalition members should resolve it as soon as possible instead of papering it over for the sake of political expediency.

“The prospect of a new political force emerging from the present political uncertainty and volatility – through realignment of both coalitions ― cannot be discounted. It may take some time to cobble together but it may offer the best way out of our current mess,” he added.

Political analyst Wan Saiful Wan Jan from the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) argued that PR’s political model is “more principled” than BN’s, noting how PAS was able to pursue its hudud ambitions despite resistance from its partners.

PAS is the oldest opposition party in Malaysia, but is also the one that commands the fewest parliamentary seats within PR.

“The current BN model will only be viable if the component parties continue being subservient to Umno,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted.

Wan Saiful pointed out that while PAS has made clear its support for hudud, Umno has yet to firmly state its position on the matter, save for a few leaders speaking out in support of it.

Sections within Umno, particularly in Kelantan where PAS is bidding to enforce hudud, have been openly supportive of the Islamic penal code, dangling the support the Islamist party needs to achieve its goal.

Such a move would violate BN’s touted consensus, as partners such as MCA and Gerakan are vehemently against hudud.

“Very soon people will start to realise this and ask Umno (to explain),” he said.

Ibrahim Suffian of independent pollster Merdeka Centre for Research told Malay Mail Online that PR’s problems may be “more acute and immediate”, but Umno’s dominance within BN threatens the ruling coalition’s solidity in the long run.

He added that allowing the Malay right wing elements to gain such prominence would increasingly drive Umno away from the middle ground it shares with the rest of BN.

Ibrahim was more dire, however, in his prognosis of PR’s current impasse, saying a failure to work past the hudud issue would indicate its lack of credentials to govern the multiracial and multicultural Malaysia.

“In my view, if parties in the opposition can’t patch things up and moderate their differences then they would deserve to lose as a country as complex as Malaysia needs political leadership that serves the whole nation rather than specific communal or sectarian interests,” the political analyst stressed.

The federal opposition is again at a crossroads, with PAS once more on the defensive against vehement protests by DAP and PKR over the Islamist party’s renewed push for hudud law.

Politicians from the pact have admitted that the current impasse over PAS’s insistence on enforcing the Islamic penal code in Kelantan could potentially be the last straw for the coalition, as those for and against hudud remain stubbornly rooted in their positions.

Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob previously announced that the state legislative assembly will hold a special sitting on December 29 to table and pass amendments to the Kelantan Shariah Criminal Code Enactment II.

The move is in preparation for PAS’s plan to table in Parliament a private member’s bill to amend the Federal Constitution and allow Kelantan to implement the Shariah Criminal Code Enactment II passed by the state assembly in 1993.

In Islamic jurisprudence, hudud covers crimes such as theft, robbery, adultery, rape and sodomy. Punishments for the crimes are severe, including amputation, flogging and death by stoning.

  1. #1 by worldpress on Tuesday, 23 December 2014 - 12:28 pm

    God don’t like fear, horror, greed, and LIE. Do you really understand?

    • #2 by cemerlang on Tuesday, 23 December 2014 - 9:13 pm

      No because people are greedy for power because with power they can do whatever they like

  2. #3 by worldpress on Tuesday, 23 December 2014 - 12:29 pm

    Everyone of us HUMAN is his children, he love his children, don’t use his name to do hurt to his children. Do you really understand?

    • #4 by cemerlang on Tuesday, 23 December 2014 - 9:12 pm

      No because the suffering continues

You must be logged in to post a comment.