KOTA BARU: A PAS associate wants the Kelantan state government to hold an open referendum for the locals on whether the highly debatable hudud law should be adopted.
PAS Supporters Club national chairman Hu Phang Chaw said the proposed adoption of the syariah criminal enactment had once again emerged as a contentious issue, especially in Pakatan Rakyat.
To move forward on the issue, Hu asked the Kelantan government to seek an open referendum on the benefits of adopting hudud by conducting a poll throughout the state on this issue.
Get the people involved whether Muslims or non-Muslims alike, he told journalists here.
He suggested that the PAS government convene a public election for those aged 21 and above, so they could vote on the matter.
Kelantan has an estimated population-base of 1.5 million, of which 96% are Muslims but a sizeable number of them work outside the east coast state due to its subdue economic activities.
Stating that the conditons to participate should be that they are Kelantan-born and present residents here, Hu suggested the poll should involve practically all adults here and be conducted either online or through traditional methods such as public voting under the supervision of the local city councils.
Hu also proposed that the PAS-owned newspaper Harakah be entrusted to help run the poll while independent observers be engaged to ensure that there was no manipulation during the voting process.
“People are confused! Some are anxious over this hudud issue as they fear that their civil rights would be compromised. Let us put out a referendum and settle it conclusively,” he said.
Put an end to the contentious issue
Hu said Kelantanese had been living with the prospects of hudud law being implemented for the last two decades.
“The issue always tends to surface, but with no solution in sight. It is either some are supportive while some are dead against it. In the middle are the people who are now less coherent over what the issue is all about. It is time to obtain their opinions,” he added.
If PAS is of the belief that hudud is good despite of the country’s multi-ethnic background then conduct the referendum to seek a populist mandate on this issue, he said.
If majority of the people in Kelantan support hudud, the federal government should no longer oppose it, he added.
Hu said the referendum was one way to offer clarity to the issue, as even some Muslims had yet to comprehend the significance of the law built on ancient forms of punishment for crimes committed.
It could also bring closure to this contentious issues, and reduce the political gambit surrounding it, he added.
Mentri Besar Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat was reported as saying that Kelantan stood on the verge of adopting the enactment but it was the federal government who stood in the way.
He also told his Pakatan partner DAP to accept that the Islamist party would eventually adopt the legislation, as it was the centre piece of the party’s struggle.
Kita president Zaid Ibrahim made headlines in the 1990s when he filed a civil class suit against the state government in the High Court, stating that Kelantan had no right to impose the hudud law.
Hudud basically addresses the sinful acts listed in the Holy Quran including alcohol consumption, stealing, apostasy, robbery, adultery and betrayal.
The drafters of the two syariah criminal code enactments, which were passed but yet to be adopted in Kelantan and Terengganu, had gone to great pains to clarify that the law was only applicable to Muslims.