It’s not God’s law, says activist

PETALING JAYA: Lawyer and activist Siti Kasim is not happy with hudud but PAS claims the amendments to Syariah Courts Criminal Jurisdiction (Act 355) is only to "elevate" the syariah court.

"If the amendment goes through, it is a law according to their interpretation, not God's law.

"Once it is in, it is never going to be easy to take it out again," she said, adding that even an initiative to file a suit to deter PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang from tabling the bill in Parliament last November had failed.

"Although we knew our chances were minimal because of the privilege in Parliament, we wanted to make a point – to say that there are Malay-Muslims who do not agree with the proposed law.

"In fact the first draft tabled in Parliament did not remove the word 'death'. Only after we sued saying that it was unconstitutional, it was amended and the word 'death' was removed," Siti recalled.

She claimed Hadi was trying to bulldoze the bill in Parliament, when the bill's technical committee members Dr Zulqarnain Luqman and Dr Syam Rahayu reportedly said that the committee had not approved it yet.

"The duo said that the bill has a problem and the committee was not happy with it as it wanted the wording to be changed to be more specific, which we have never heard before," Siti said.

It was also reported that the bill was rejected by the (pre-council meeting of the) Conference of Rulers.

"When that happened, Hadi brought it to Parliament as a private member's bill, without telling the committee.

"If Malays cannot see what kind of a person Hadi is from this, then there is a serious problem with them.

"He went against the committee which said this cannot work like this – these words are too wide and will never be passed, so the committee wanted to amend them," Siti said.

She added that non-Muslims will be affected as there is no limit to the enforcement of hudud.

"For now they will say it is for Muslims but who is going to stop them eventually?"

Siti said that if hudud is passed and implemented in the country, it will eventually affect the whole fabric of the nation as enforcement will not only be limited to Muslims.

"And once it is allowed, what will stop them? That is why I say people must be given a choice to be governed either by civil or Islamic law.

"If people choose to be governed by Islamic law then it is their right, but don't force it on everyone. I want to see who will choose to be governed under hudud," she said.

Siti added there are provisions on hudud in Terengganu and Kelantan that are in violation of the Federal Constitution.

For example the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender and the "Mak Nyah" community. Dressing as a woman is prohibited in syariah but freedom of expression and movement are allowed in the Federal Constitution.

"So what is it now? Are we an Islamic state? Being born as a Malay and Muslim in this country would be like a third class citizen, you have no rights ... you cannot be yourself even though you are not hurting anyone," she said.