State PKR chairman Baru Bian welcomes the stand taken by Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman that he will not support the Hudud Bill.
“We commend him on being the first Umno member to openly declare his opposition to the Bill, and for prioritising the harmony among the people of Sabah.
“We are also glad that Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg has reiterated Sarawak BN’s opposition to the Hudud Bill, as stated by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem in April,” Baru, who is Ba Kelalan assemblyman, said in a press statement yesterday.
Anifah’s stand was reported by a news portal where he was quoted as writing in a WhatsApp chat group discussion when he was in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly. “I will not support the bill. Period. It will destroy the harmonious nature of our state.”
Anifah was responding to questions being asked on Sabah BN’s stand on the issue with several forum members suggesting the state BN might not have the spine to break party rank and vote according to their conscience.
He was also reported as saying that the introduction of hudud was ‘unthinkable’ despite PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s assurance that the Bill, if passed, would only apply to Muslims in the country.
Abdul Hadi, who is also Marang MP, tabled a Private Member’s Bill on hudud in the last Parliamentary sitting, but asked for the debate on the Bill to be postponed to the coming Parliamentary sitting.
Baru said he had made his party’s stand against hudud very clear on many occasions, both in and out of the State Legislative Assembly.
“The importance placed on Sarawak having no official religion and our freedom of religion is reflected in the first of the 18/20 points of the Malaysia Agreement, and stated clearly in the Cobbold Report.
“Furthermore, our forefathers had signed the Malaysia Agreement with a secular state, and that must remain so.”
Baru also cited constitutional lawyer Tommy Thomas who was quoted in a paper presented at Malaysian Law Conference in Kuala Lumpur in 2007 entitled ‘The Social Contract: Malaysia’s Constitutional Covenant’ as saying: ‘in addition to enjoying constitutional status, the 20 points also have international law status as being part of treaty obligations between sovereign nations. In consequence, if any provisions of the 20 points is breached, the United Kingdom can, in law, take up the matter; whether, as a political fact, its government does so is an altogether different matter.
Further, such a breach may be justifiable in the courts of England and Malaysia.’
Baru hoped the nation’s lawmakers would realise that the Hudud Bill was unconstitutional, one of the reasons being that it seeks to empower the state to legislate criminal law, which is a federal matter.
“Hudud law will result in different punishments for the same crime dependingon the religion of the offender; this goes against the principle of equality for all as guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.
“Islamic scholars and lawyers have said it is impossible to implement hudud law in a country that is saddled with injustice, corruption and poor governance. Malaysia, being one such country, PAS leaders would do well to focus their efforts on improving the governance of the country instead of pursuing Hudud law.”
Baru hoped that other Umno leaders would follow the Sabah and Sarawak BN lead and speak up against the Hudud Bill.
“We are thankful that there are leaders who have the courage to make a stand on an issue of such crucial importance to Malaysians. Dare we hope that we can similarly stand together on other issues so plain and obvious such as corruption, injustice, politicising of religion, oppression of the natives over their native customary rights (NCR) lands, and the likes.”
For Sarawak and Sabah, Baru said it was imperative that they remain united and speak in one voice to reclaim and protect their rights, adding that should Hudud law were implemented in Malaya, they would have to review the Malaysia Agreement and consider their options for breach of agreement.
The Borneo Post Online