KUALA LUMPUR: Amanah strategy director Dzulkefly Ahmad has dismissed advocates of hudud as being simplistic with their argument that the imposition of severe punishments under the code would be an ideal cure for crime in Malaysia.
The South China Morning Post (SCMP) yesterday quoted him as saying that such punishments had not improved the quality of life and delivery of justice to the countries that have implemented them
“There has been empirical research done on countries that have implemented hudud and there is actually an inverse correlation between hudud and quality of life and justice,” he told SCMP.
“Sudan, Pakistan, Nigeria – look at their level of integrity, income disparity, crime, violence. It is not that simplistic,” he said.
He said many supporters of hudud, ignoring the reality that crime had a multiplicity of causes, appeared to hold to the belief that all of man’s problems would be solved with the enforcement of the code.
“If that was the case, the Prophet would’ve pronounced hudud from day one,” he was quoted as saying.
The former Kuala Selangor MP said the debate over the matter had “reduced everything to the punitive” whereas “shariah is not about that at all.”
The bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act is scheduled for tabling in the current session of the Dewan Rakyat, which ends on April 6.
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang put forward the private member’s bill in the house last year,
It seeks to raise the maximum penalties for shariah offences to 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 strokes of the cane. Shariah court punishment is currently capped at jail terms not exceeding three years, a maximum of RM5,000 for fines and whipping of not more than six strokes of the cane.
Dzulkefly said the use of the word “hukm” in the Quran signified arbitration, judgment, authority and God’s will, but the Malay perception of the word took it as punishment and the penal code.
The SCMP report also cited warnings that the calls for hudud were part of a creeping Islamisation that would breed extremism.
It noted testimony by Joseph Liow of the Brookings Institution think tank to the US Congress on assessing the threat the Islamic State terrorist group posed to Southeast Asia.
Liow said “the climate of religious conservatism and intolerance” in Malaysia had created “fertile conditions” for Islamic State’s ideology “to gain popularity”.
Badrul Hisham Ismail, programme manager and director of Iman Research, said while supporters of hudud were generally non-violent, they shared an element of thought with Islamic State.
“It’s that perception that by going back to so-called pure Islam, you can solve problems – crime, corruption, socio-economic problems,” he was quoted as saying.
The report also quoted Abdullah Zaik, president of hardline outfit Isma, as saying that hudud should be prescribed to all. “We believe an Islamic system can be accepted and will assure everyone that an Islamic system will protect their interests,” he was quoted as saying. -FMT