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Election Watch


Emerging Perspectives on Hudud in Malaysia Forum
Date: 27 May 2014
Time: 03:00 PM - 06:00 PM
Venue: Bankers Club Kuala Lumpur



Despite the fact that PAS has postponed Private Member's Bill to enable the implementation of Hudud law in Kelantan, many still expressed deep concerns and critiques over this matter . These concerns were raised in the context of a potential introduction of “hadd” punishment into criminal laws, with an aim to conform to the injunction of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and Sunnah. Hudud law has been regarded widely as one of the most contentious piece of legislations because of a lack of conceptual accuracies and its discriminatory nature against women and girls, with respect to a creation of discrimination system of justice for women. The society is continually addressing questions of the correct interpretation of Islam. The existence of the different discourses has led to question the necessity of implementing hudud. Will Hudud PAS or Hudud Islam be implemented?

Responding to this, some faces the challenge to remain cautious within Islamic strictures and are wary of appearing to criticize Islam itself. Other expressed concerns about the consequences of incorporating Shari’ah and hudud punishments into state law that are at odds with Malaysia’s commitments to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention of Elimination of All Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). On one level, the implementation of hudud law might reflect a radical departure of modernity and progression. Sceptics have tempted to discount this move as less helpful in assisting the development of Malaysia. In a context of a pluralistic society, there were concerns about the potential of shariah being central to the Malaysian constitution; and the potential imposition of hudud on the non-Muslims.

Besides the rather gloomy picture of Hudud that many have painted, it is even more important to acknowledge the perceived notion that Hudud is used as a political tool by the right wing Muslim to create dissent among DAP, PAS and Parti Keadilan Rakyat. Here, a parallel with DAP and Pakatan Keadilan Rakyat’s vision of a reformed Malaysia cannot be successfully employed. The 13th General Election saw many progressives losing their seats. This may be indicatives of the fact that the right wing Muslim are gaining a stronghold to create an Islamic resurgence that moves toward dogmatism, extremism and conservatism. While it is possible to identify the movement of Islamisation through this move, the strategy of Islamisation may be analysed and further within the ambits of regaining two-thirds of the majority in parliament. Similarly, any further development necessary to re-establish two thirds of the majority will need to be based on certain common grounds and in this context, an Islamic ideology and a movement for socio-political change.

The foregoing critiques underline the need for a more nuanced understanding of  the potential implications of hudud from a socio-political point of view.

It is against this backdrop that CPPS aims to address this divisive issue and to ensure respect for religious freedom and gender equality. This forum will explore the following key questions: 

1. What does a Hudud Criminal Code entail? 

2. How does the implementation of Hudud law play out in the opposition party, particularly in the levels of cohesion between Pakatan Keadilan, PAS and DAP? How would Pakatan Rakyat broker its vision of a secular Reformed Malaysia within a context of Hudud? 

3. How will the federal government assert a greater control over the interpretation and practices of Hudud in a multi-pluralistic society? 

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