This is the time for all patriotic Malaysians to take a stand and state what kind of Malaysia we want, says P Ramakrishnan.
MCA Youth chief Chong Sin Woon has very proudly claimed victory for the sudden decision of Putrajaya not to present Hadi’s bill as its own in Parliament.
According to him, Putrajaya’s change of heart was the result of perseverance by the MCA and other component parties of the Barisan Nasional (Malaysiakini, 30 March 2017). He declared that the BN supreme council’s decision was based on the BN’s consensus model.
We may have to advise the MCA Youth chief that it might be just too early to celebrate the so-called victory attributed to the fact that Putrajaya has now decided not to take over Hadi’s hudud bill. This is not the time to feel elated. It is just too soon for celebration!
What does this Barisan Nasional decision mean? Does it mean that Umno will not support Hadi’s bill in Parliament? Or, would that mean the bill will be killed tactically by prolonging the government’s affairs so that Hadi’s bill will not have time to be debated at this session of Parliament?
Does this in any way suggest that Umno will not cooperate with Pas on the hudud bill? Has the prime minster gone back on his pledge to the Umno general assembly that Putrajaya would take over the bill and that Umno would continue to cooperate with Pas on Islamic affairs?
If Najib can go back on his words to Umno and the assurance given to Pas on the hudud bill without any qualms, would he remain true to the BN’s recent consensus model? This is something the MCA may want to ponder over.
This may be food for thought: according to the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Asyraf Wajdi Dasuki, “BN’s decision not to take over and table the private member’s bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act or Act 355 does not translate into its rejection.”
“It doesn’t arise that the government is rejecting Act 355, the only difference is that it has been suggested for it to be moved by Pas as a private member’s bill,” he added.
Asyraf said if the bill is passed with a simple majority, it would be placed under the government’s responsibility.
It is apparent that the BN government – read it as Umno government, as others insist – has not rejected the bill. To mollify the BN component partners – and what has to be seen as a matter of Umno strategy – we are made to believe that the BN will not move the bill in Parliament and therefore the threat of hudud has been removed. It is now left to Pas to move the bill as a private member’s bill.
Does it make any difference who tables the bill? The danger that the bill might be passed is very apparent and real for all thinking Malaysians. We are reminded of the proverb, “There are more ways than one to skin a cat.”
In other words, when Hadi’s bill is passed by Parliament with a simple majority, at some future convenient date, the government would adopt this bill and implement it. At that point, the much celebrated so-called “BN consensus model” would amount to nothing. It would have been thrown to the wind.
No Umno member of Parliament has so far disagreed with Hadi’s bill. In fact, it has been driven home that every Muslim MP is obliged to support this bill, otherwise they would be going against Islam. This was how pressure was applied to secure support from the Muslim MPs through fear and intimidation.
Following the BN consensus, Najib has not said that Umno MPs will not support Hadi’s bill. He has not assured the nation that he would call upon them to vote against the bill. He has not taken a firm stand on this issue. He has not categorically stated that he is for the bill; neither has he said that he is against it. In an important issue like this, he cannot be neutral.
The BN decision not to move the bill is only a temporary respite to lull the component partners into believing that they had succeeded in derailing Hadi’s bill. But they will be rudely awakened after GE 14. It is commonly believed that after the elections, the hudud bill will be revived over-riding the objections of the BN component parties.
The bill has got to be delayed at this point because of an impending general election, otherwise it may be a disastrous outing for Umno.
The strange thing is that Pas and other groups did not condemn this decision as going against Islam. They used to be so vociferous when others opposed Hadi’s bill. But on this occasion, there is a pin-drop silence: no protest, no condemnation, no vilification of anyone. Malaysians are led to believe that it is natural to disagree and there is nothing wrong in opposing Hadi’s bill.
What is clear now is that opposing Hadi’s bill is not tantamount to being anti-Islam. Nobody will accuse you of insulting Islam for not supporting Hadi’s bill.
This is the time – for all those who care for the wellbeing of this nation, who are concerned about peace and harmony, who crave for unity among Malaysians, who want a system of justice that will be fair and just to all, who desire a caring government that will look after its citizens above their personal interests – to speak up.
The BN component partners have opposed Hadi’s bill without being labelled anti-Islam or insulting Islam. You need not fear that you will be misconstrued. This is the time for all patriotic Malaysians to take a stand and state what kind of Malaysia you want for your children and grandchildren.
Let not bigotry and senseless extremism take hold of the country. Let not the minority disrupt and destroy the future of this nation. Let’s stand up and be counted.