IS Malaysia ready for hudud? I think it is almost impossible to follow in Brunei's footsteps and introduce hudud in Malaysia, even as crime rates are spiking. It is not possible to implement as the laws would only apply to Muslims, who represent more than 60 per cent of the population in this country.
In recent times, many Malaysians, both Muslims and non-Muslims, have called for hudud to be implemented as they think it would be a deterrent to criminals. People will welcome it if they think it can bring down the crime rate and make them feel safe. If we look beyond religion, it might work but not in its current form.
Hudud is a term used in syariah to describe the class of punishment for crimes such as theft, fornication, adultery, consumption of alcohol and apostasy. It would be difficult to implement hudud in Malaysia because of the multiracial balance of the country.
Non-Muslims might think of it as a deterrent but it is too complex and complicated to be implemented in our diverse society. Crime has become a pertinent worry for many Malaysians, who are used to regularly reading media reports on snatch thefts, robberies and murders.
According to police statistics, cases of violent crime are increasing over the years.
Hudud itself is a reminder to human beings on the importance of observing boundaries. In its philosophical sense, hudud is not a rigid and dogmatic set of rules. The harsh punishments of hudud were meant to deter people from committing crimes. But in this modern world, it would not be practical.
Before we even try to table the bill in Parliament, we need to look at a few matters. Is the hudud criminal code properly tabulated so that it can be made available for all Malaysians to read, understand and raise questions? If it is, then it should be published and circulated for all to read and understand.
This is vital before any further discussion takes place. If there is no organised set of laws yet, who decides what goes into the hudud criminal code and how will it be done? If there is no proper set of hudud laws, then Malaysia is not ready to have them passed in the first place.
Non-Muslims should be educated first on hudud before it is implemented. There is a misconception that it is all about the cutting of hands and leaving people limbless. Hudud is not about punishment but prevention. Hudud is only one part and a base of syariah. A wider issue is whether in a multiracial and multireligious society like Malaysia, the implementation of the laws will bring us forward towards a more civilised and enlightened society or will it bring us backwards.
Perhaps we should ask ourselves this: what kind of society would we prefer for ourselves and for children so that all Malaysians will live in peace and harmony? In what way will hudud solve or lessen the crime rate in our country? Will laws promote better morality among the people?
Implementing hudud might give the perception that it is the shortest way to reduce crimes. There is no one system that can totally stop crime. Best way to reduce crime is by sorting out the imbalances in society.
Some people resort to crime because of necessity and poverty. Education is the only pathway to solve this imbalance in society and is the most important step in crime prevention.
What Malaysians should be more concerned about is the enhancement of democratic institutions in the country and introduction of appropriate rules and laws to regulate their lives, no matter if it is secular or hudud laws.Kauselya Muniandy, Ipoh, Perak NST Letters 10 JULY 2014 @ 8:07 AM