Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Anwar clarifies his hudud stand

Anwar clarifies his hudud stand
Teoh El Sen | September 24, 2011 The Opposition Leader condemns Umno and Barisan Nasional for exploiting the hudud issue for political mileage.

PETALING JAYA: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has given an assurance that Pakatan Rakyat would discuss the hudud issue to seek an amicable solution in an attempt to clarify his earlier controversial statement in support of Kelantan implementing the Islamic laws.

“I would like to stress that Pakatan Rakyat is a coalition built on the principle of consensus and mutual trust and respect,” said Anwar during a speech in Terengganu. The speech was issued to the media by PKR headquarters here.

“We hold firm to the conviction that any issue which affects the interest of the people must be discussed frankly in a civilized manner with the objective of seeking an amicable resolution.”

Anwar said Pakatan believes that each and every component party of the coalition should be given its legitimate right to explain its position on significant issues to its members.

He added that in relation to the PAS state government’s intention to implement hudud in Kelantan, his view was that “we should respect that decision, but certainly it would depend on several things.”

He said the implementation of hudud in Kelantan must, in all circumstances be subject, to the maqasid al Shari’a (the higher objectives of the syariah), in which it was “most paramount” to ensure justice for all, regardless of race, status or religion.

“This warrants the existence of syariah judges who are capable of dispensing justice without fear or favour and a syariah judicial system which is independent of political pressure or other kinds of influence that would impair its functions in the administration of justice,” he said.

Anwar said that he, as a Muslim, was bound by the commandments of his religion, including the injunctions as ordained in the Quran, but stressed that non-Muslims are and must continue to be in all circumstances exempt from the syariah laws.

“As I have stated before, the right to practice one’s faith is a fundamental freedom that is guaranteed by the Federal Constitution,” he said.

Umno/BN hypocrisy

He added that this was in line with the position of the Pakatan Rakyat as laid out in the Orange Book, which stated:

“…to defend the Federal Constitution, to uphold the position of Islam as the religion of the Federation, to ensure that other religions may be professed and practiced fully, and to safeguard the special position of the Malays and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak as well as the interests of other races in line with Article 153.”

Anwar condemned “the hypocrisy of Umno and Barisan Nasional in exploiting the hudud issue for political mileage”.

“Even more deplorable are the sinister machinations orchestrated by Umno in attempting to stoke the fires of ethnic and religious tension by repeatedly playing up the issue in their media,” he added.

Anwar said on one hand, BN was projecting an anti-syariah stance to the non-Muslim audience, even on some occasions rubbishing it as a primitive system; while to the Muslim audience, they relentlessly attack Pakatan Muslim leaders as being traitors to their religion and race by consorting with non-Muslim leaders.

“Without doubt these actions are part and parcel of the overall plan to drive a wedge in the Pakatan coalition and bring about internal strife and in the process hope to weaken the coalition and the chances of victory in the next elections,” he said.

In recent days, Pakatan has been rocked by Anwar’s statement last Thursday that he would support the implementation of hudud in Kelantan. He however was quick to add that it was his personal stand, and did not reflect Pakatan’s view.

DAP however was not impressed by Anwar’s remarks, hitting out at him for making such a pronouncement.

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