The Malaysian Insider, March 22, 2015
Free Malaysia Today, March 23, 2015
The Star, March 24, 2015
Umno's near silence on whether it supports hudud or not is causing grave uncertainty as to the future of Malaysia
Former deputy prime minister Musa Hitam probably reflected the deep concerns of Malaysians when he said he was “disappointed with Umno for not making its stand on hudud clear”.
A significant number – perhaps even a majority – of thinking Malaysians have long been expecting the Umno-led government to come out unequivocally on this vital issue. Its near silence is causing national anxiety and grave uncertainty as to the future of our country.
As Musa correctly pointed out, this is a national issue “with far reaching implications to the country, both domestically and internationally”.
Confidence at home and abroad can dramatically decline as Malaysians see themselves at the crossroads of their destiny. We all ask whether we will continue to adopt secular ways to go forward or take the hudud highway and perhaps go backwards?
These uncertainties will also probably cause a further weakening of the ringgit, an increase in capital outflows, a worsening of the brain drain and even a rise in inflation.
Musa’s considered opinion is that “hudud is not appropriate for multi-ethnic and multi religious Malaysia.” This is a reality which has to be appreciated. Hudud cannot be applied only to Muslims in a multi-religious society. How can anyone honestly claim that in Malaysia, where Muslims and non Muslims interact so closely, hudud will apply only to Muslims, when other parties may be jointly and severally involved in crime or camaraderie?
We all hope that the government will respond to Musa’s urgent call for it to declare clearly whether it supports hudud or not. We await with bated breath for the government to finally and firmly make its stand. Indeed, the whole world is waiting with us Malaysians.
We wish the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and whole government all the very best in exercising the courage of its conviction and leading our country to greater success.
Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam is the Chairman of the ASLI Centre for Public Policy Studies.
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