21 February 2017
The impending Himpunan 355 rally and the current discourse on hudud in Malaysia exemplifies the effects of religious outbidding between UMNO and PAS on the Muslim populace. To prevent Islam from being cast as a radical ideology, hudud must be contextualised to its past and present.
UMNO HAS attempted the Islamisation of the Malaysian bureaucracy since the 1970s as part of its political contest with PAS, whose core mission is the implementation of the Islamic penal code or hudud. The Islamisation effort includes since 1984, the gradual increase of the jurisdiction and sentencing power of the Shariah courts. During the period around the 12th and 13th general elections in 2008 and 2013, when an inclusive Malaysian opposition coalition was briefly in ascendant, PAS had tamped down demands for hudud laws. However, the implementation of hudud in Brunei in 2014, and a splintering political opposition have renewed the pressure on PAS to demand for it to maintain its political relevance.
Not wanting to cede control of the Islamising agenda to PAS, UMNO has stymied PAS’ demands through its proposal for a joint PAS-UMNO technical committee to deliberate the matter. The committee has since reframed PAS’ call for hudud by seeking higher punishments in the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, also known as Act 355. Contrary to official public lines that they are ‘not about hudud’, elements within PAS have argued that the amendments do actually pave the way for its implementation. PAS has since called for the mobilisation of Muslims in a rally this weekend to support the amendments.
… Afiqah Binti Zainal is currently completing the MSc in Political Theory at the London School of Economics. Muhammad Haziq Bin Jani is a Research Analyst with the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR), at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 22/02/2017