Only ‘stupid people’ talk about hudud in Malaysia, senior Umno minister says

Nazri said that even opposition party PKR was more inclusive than Parti Pribumi as all of its members were accorded full rights. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 — Senior Umno minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz turned the heat up a notch in the controversy over hudud today, harshly describing those bickering over the law and its planned implementation in Kelantan as “stupid people”.

The outspoken politician said there was no need to worry over PAS’s hudud agenda as in the first place, the controversial Islamic penal code runs counter to the Federal Constitution and would therefore never be implemented in Malaysia.

“They are all stupid, whoever is talking about this from whichever political party. This can only happen if there is an amendment to the Federal Constitution.

“So why even talk or bother about something that is against the Constitution and will not happen? Exercise in futility,” the former de facto law minister told reporters when met at the Parliament lobby here.

Nazri, who is now Tourism Minister, stressed that punishments for crime and theft under hudud could not be passed without first amending the Constitution as the civil courts already have clear punishments for such offences.

Empowering the Shariah Courts to carry out these punishments would require two-thirds parliamentary majority to amend the Constitution, he pointed out.

“At the end of the day, we must respect the rule of law. And that is our Constitution.

“If we insist on a separate set of laws, then anyone can demand for different laws. It is stupid, I don’t care what anyone says, I am saying it is stupid,” the Padang Rengas MP said.

Nazri also predicted that PAS would fail in its attempt to push through two private members’ bills on hudud in Parliament as there were “so many other pressing issues to discuss.”

“Every session we have so many private members’ bills that has never been discussed.

“Umno knows hudud can’t be passed, it is an exercise in futility,” he reiterated.

PAS-ruled Kelantan passed key amendments to its Shariah Criminal Code II 1993 last Thursday in a move to enable the eventual implementation of hudud in the Malay-majority east coast state.

All 12 Umno state lawmakers voted for the amendments but the ruling party’s national leadership has yet to declare if the same support would be given to PAS’s hudud ambition at the federal level.

All Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties including Umno are expected to issue a joint statement to declare its position on the controversial issue.

The statement is expected to precede PAS’s attempt to table a private members’ Bill in the ongoing Parliament session that will enable Kelantan to carry out punishments under hudud. Among others, the Islamic criminal justice system prescribes amputation as punishment for crimes like stealing.

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang had earlier last week served notice to Parliament on the proposed Bill but BN’s law minister Datuk Nancy Shukri said it may not make it into the order paper for the current session as there are many others on the schedule.

PAS only has 21 MPs in the lower House and would need to rely on Muslim MPs from other parties in order to get a simple majority of 112 votes to get the Bill passed.

Tonight, DAP’s national central executive committee (CEC) will hold a meeting to discuss its position in PR following PAS’s hudud manoeuvre in Kelantan.