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Sunday, May 29, 2016

PBRS tells Kurup to ‘put foot down’ on hudud

Local media also quoted the National Unity Minister as warning that the hudud Bill risks alienating Sabah and Sarawak from the Peninsula.
PETALING JAYA: PBRS President Joseph Kurup, stopping short of saying that he would quit the Cabinet and the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, has warned that Sabah and Sarawak would end their Federation with Malaya if the proposed amendments to the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 to facilitate hudud was put to the vote in Parliament.
When push comes to shove, reiterated Kurup who is also National Unity Minister, Sabahans and Sarawakians may demand ending the relationship with Malaysia. “The Bill risks alienating Sabah and Sarawak from Malaya and dividing the Federation.”
He called for the hudud Bill to be withdrawn in line with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) — no religion in Sabah and Sarawak — and the secular Federal Constitution. “If the hudud Bill was forced on Parliament, I am afraid it will trigger and force the people of Sabah and Sarawak to go their separate ways from Malaysia,” said Kurup in resuming his take on the hudud Bill.
His remarks were widely reported by the local media in the two Borneo states and shared in the social media, especially in WhatsApp groups, and quoted by the mainstream media and online news portals. “The Federal Government should not even think of introducing the hudud Bill,” cautioned Kurup.
He addressed questions from the local media on whether his party advised him to consider quitting the Federal Cabinet over hudud, as was contemplated by certain Barisan Nasional (BN) parties. Kurup disclosed that the word — from the PBRS Supreme Council — was that “we have to put our foot down (on hudud).”
“The instruction from my Supreme Council and the words they used — putting our foot down — is clear,” said Kurup in explaining his party’s position. “So, I think there’s a subtle meaning there.”
Kurup was taking his cue from the respective public stands taken by several BN component parties including PRS and SUPP in Sarawak and MCA and Gerakan which also have local chapters in Sabah.
“PRS will not agree if the amendments involves introduction of ‘hudud’, even if bit by bit, to Malaysian society,” the Borneo Post Sarawak quoted Deputy Chief Minister James Masing as saying.
The Sibu-based Borneo daily previously quoted Masing as confirming that he would instruct his party’s six MPs to vote against the hudud Bill if it was tabled in Parliament. “The hudud Bill is against the Federal Constitution and MA63,” Masing was quoted as saying on the sidelines of a press conference. “The Shariah Court derives its authority, jurisdiction and power from the Federal Constitution.”
“The Shariah Court can’t be seen as going against the Federal Constitution.”
SUPP President Sim Kui Hian cited MA63 and the Federal Constitution in expressing his party’s opposition to hudud. He added that his party had been against hudud, even if only for Muslims in Kelantan, from the very beginning. “The Federal Constitution is secular,” pointed out Sim. “There’s no religion in Sabah and Sarawak under MA63 and the state Constitutions.”
MA63 is an international treaty signed by five governments — the United Kingdom, North Borneo, Sarawak, Singapore and Malaya — and cannot be amended by the Malaysian Parliament or ignored by the Federal Constitution, pointed out the SUPP Chief. “Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem has echoed our stand many times in numerous public statements.”
“Hudud has no place in Malaysia.”
The consensus across the political divide in Borneo is that although hudud, it’s said, was being proposed only for Muslims in Kelantan, the reality was very different. Even government departments, in raising the spectre of creeping Islamisation, were moving against non-Muslim women members of the public for turning up in skirts above the knees, goes the debate in the social media.
There have also been many incidents, reported by the media, where vociferous groups demanded that Churches take down the crucifix, mission schools not display the cross, and forced into changing their names at the risk of losing government grants, and had to put up, among others, with ustaz and ustazah from Kelantan as principals. Dayak Christian students in Sarawak, according to media reports, were also re-classified in their school documents as Malay.
The MCA and Gerakan presidents have since warned that they would quit their Cabinet posts if Hadi’s hudud Bill was put to the vote in Parliament.

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