Tuesday, December 23, 2008

MCA guilty of hypocrisy for Pakatan criticism

PETALING JAYA: PKR and DAP should make their stand on PAS’ goal to implement hudud law should the Pakatan Rakyat win in a general election, MCA Youth Chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said. [The Star, 22/12/08]

In the tense build up to the Kuala Terengganu by-election scheduled for January 17 next year, PAS made a remark that would strain the already fragile alliance with it's secular Pakatan Rakyat counterparts; possibly undermining the coalition's chances of winning the parliamentary seat. The party's vice-president Datuk Husam Musa was an unpleasant surprise when he said PAS would implement hudud law if the Pakatan Rakyat coalition seizes control of the federal government.

In Islamic law, hudud refers to a set of punishments that would introduce whipping, stoning and amputation as punishment for serious criminal offenses.

Husam Musa's latest statements came at an inappropriate time when both the country's political entities are vying for the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary seat. It was understood that Muslim Malay voters make up 88% of ballot-casters in the constituency while the Chinese stands at a meagre 11%. Nonetheless, the non-Muslim votes are just as decisive in tipping the scale of support for either the incumbent Barisan Nasional or the Opposition come January 17.

The idea of hudud laws being implemented has always been a big no-no among non-Muslims and to some, a threat to multiracial harmony. That being said, Barisan Nasional have just gone one up against the Pakatan Rakyat with the 11% now thinking twice of casting their votes for the latter.

The Chinese-dominated DAP quickly disassociates itself from Husam Musa's statements. Ipoh Timur MP Lim Kit Siang (image) clarified that the implementation of hudud laws was not part of Pakatan Rakyat's policy and reinterated the secular status of the country as agreed in the social contract.

Barisan Nasional leaders even took the opportunity to further inflict damage on their political rivals.

"That is only political rhetoric, trying to be a champion for the Malays without thinking of the nation's multiracial structure. Hudud is only a small claim in Islam. Not implementing hudud does not mean we fail to become good Muslims," said former Selangor Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo. [The Star, 22/12/08]

"The most important thing is what exactly is the policy when they run the government. I think people will look for that," said MCA Wanita chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun. [The Malaysian Insider, 22/12/08]

"In the last election, PAS used the slogan welfare state. They did not bring up the issue of hudud but before that they did. Now it seems like the party leaders want to implement hudud. This is a matter of credibility. Hudud is used as a political slogan only but nothing is implemented by them," said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. [The Malaysian Insider, 22/12/08]
MCA, a component party of the Barisan Nasional now has a foothold in its attempt to recapture the support of the Chinese community after a disappointing run of defeats during the March 8 Elections. Its Youth Chief, Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong launched an attack on the Pakatan Rakyat, saying the PKR and DAP (both secular) should make their stand on the implementation of hudud laws.

“Other political parties in the Pakatan Rakyat should announce publicly whether they agree with PAS on the implementation of hudud law. They (PAS) should not hide the fact that their ultimate goal is to fish vote,” he told reporters. [The Star, 22/12/08]
Yes, it is imperative that PKR and PAS clarify their stands on the issue as it would certainly cause concerns among many non-Muslims if it is left unresolved. But then again, what gives the pot the right to call the kettle black?

Former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad (image), some years ago, once declared that Malaysia was an Islamic state despite the absence of such mention in the Constitution. The Constitution only assures Islam as the official religion of the federation but nothing was written to support the idea of Malaysia being an Islamic country. Even so, Malaysia cannot be an Islamic country since alcohol consumption and gambling are permitted.

Again in 2007, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak irked many when he reaffirmed Malaysia is and has always been an Islamic country. He reasoned that Malaysia has been governed all along on Islamic fundamentals and therefore, it merits Malaysia as an Islamic country. But are not good principles of governance universal, irregardless of religion?

It is not a problem for non-Muslims to accept the fact that their country is governed by Islamic principles which are indeed noble and just. After all, good and fair governance is what people want at the end of the day. But to declare Malaysia as an Islamic state is not only unconstitutional but also poses a scenario where acceptance from the non-Muslim community is near to impossible.

If such statements by leaders who declare Malaysia an Islamic state could cause so much discomfort and confusion among Malaysians, where was MCA then to demand UMNO states to make their stand on Tun Mahathir's declaration? Dr Wee said any collaboration between political parties would have a consensus on their political struggle and ideology. So why the lack of consensus among UMNO and MCA then and the holier-than-thou finger-pointing now?


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