Whilst the nation inches towards financial ruin…

Posted on September 27, 2011


I have to confess that most times that Arthur engages me on the global capital markets, much of what he says is Greek to me.

Still very much a kampung boy, I guess.

Not so kampung boy, though, that I cannot make out from this report in the Malaysianinsider that the attention of the whole world is turned to how Europe and the US deal with their debt crisis that is threatening to wreak havoc in national economies worldwide.

Well, the whole world except, it would seem, in Kelantan.

Maybe even the whole country.

Certainly, though, Kelantan seems oblivious to the impending financial crisis.

Nik Aziz seems determined to see hudud made the paramount law of all Kelantanese who profess Islam as their religion.

And the law applicable to any Muslim passing through the state.

Prof Aziz Bari, as reported in Malaysiakini, seems dead certain that the majority of Kelantanese are all for hudud law being implemented in the state.

Why, he says, the government is even prepared to take a referendum to the people on this issue.

What’s not clear from the report is, firstly, whether by ‘majority of Kelantanese’, Aziz also meant the non-Muslim community, and, secondly, whether the Kelantanese non-Muslim community would also partake in any state-wide referendum on the issue?

What good, though, would such a referendum serve unless those who think it unwise to de-secularise Kelantan are given the widest possible berth to share those concerns with all the Kelantanese?

Will PAS allow for this?

Aziz is quoted as saying that he had the opportunity to listen to the sentiments of the grassroots and thereby discerned their inclination towards the implementation of hudud in the state.

It would have been good if, even as he sought their views on the hudud, Aziz had also elicited from that same grassroot their thoughts and concerns about the economic development or, more accurately, the near absence thereof, in the state.

Kelantan is, after all, ranked 5th amongst all the states in terms of the incidence of poverty.

As PAS pushes to implement hudud, do they also have a plan to uplift the economic lot of the impoverished Kelantanese?

That you do not need hudud law to rejuvenate the economy is exemplified by what the Pakatan state government has achieved in Penang these last 3 years.

Aziz postulates that there is no restriction in the constitution for the introduction and implementation of Islamic law, including the hudud.

His reasoning then, seems to be that as there is no such restriction and as the majority favour it, the will of the majority be done.

Aziz must concede that there is also no prohibition in the constitution for the introduction into law of any Christian precepts.

According to Wikipedia, Sarawak has the largest population of Christians, over 43% of the population being of this faith.

26% are Muslim.

If the Christians in Sarawak could get another 10 % of the population to support them in a referendum, would Aziz go along with the state then justifiably legislating to, say, as an example, make it incumbent upon every Christian in the state to ‘take the Gospel to all, baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit’?

What’s good for Kelantan must surely be just as good for Sarawak, no?

Respectfully, I think Aziz Bari’s reasoning why hudud could, without any difficulty, be implemented in Kelantan is seriously flawed and, if time permits, I would try to address these various flaws in another posting.

The principal plank in Aziz’s flawed argument, in my view, is his outright dismissal to claims that we were, at the very inception of Malaya and, continuing through to the forming of the nation we now are, intended to be secular.

In taking this position, Aziz disregards the pronouncement by a 5-man bench of the Supreme Court in the case of Che Omar Che Soh that “…it can be seen that during the British colonial period, through their system of indirect rule and establishment of secular institutions, Islamic law was rendered isolated in a narrow confinement of the law of marriage, divorce and inheritance only. In our view, it is in this sense that the framers of the Constitution understood the meaning of the word ‘Islam’ in the context of Article 3. If it had been otherwise, there would have been another provision in the Constitution which would have the effect that any law contrary to the injunction of Islam will be void. Far from making such provision, Article 162, on the other hand, purposely preserves the continuity of secular law prior to the Constitution, unless such law is contrary to the latterwe have to set aside our personal feelings because the law in this country is still what it is today, secular law, where morality not accepted by the law is not enjoying the status of law. Perhaps that argument should be addressed at other forums or at seminars and, perhaps, to politicians and Parliament. Until the law and the system is changed, we have no choice but to proceed as we are doing today.”

Aziz knows well that to this day, Che Omar has never been overruled.

Ignored, perhaps, as Aziz now does, but never overruled.

Perhaps the leadership in Kelantan, and their advisors, would do well to take heed of the words of Salleh Abas, put aside their personal feelings, and look into the more pressing economic needs of the poor in Kelantan.