CAIRO - Seeking to lure more voters in next year's election, the Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS) has vowed to amend constitution to allow hudud if they secured more seats than their allies in the People's Alliance (Pakatan Rakyat) coalition.
"We will implement hudud and amend the Constitution even if (it is) not with the current partners we have in Pakatan...may be there will be other pacts (Pakatan) that will lend us their support, said Harun Taib, chief of PAS Ulema Council, New Straight Times reported on Saturday, May 12.
"If we have enough majority (of seats), if Pas is stronger than our allies, we will implement (hudud and the amendment to the Constitution)."Hudud (Penalties) in Contemporary Legal Discourse
The issue was first raised when the Islamic party's president Abdul Hadi Awang said that PAS had never backtracked on their intention to put Hudud to law and that it will seek to implement it if it takes federal power.
Later on, Karpal Singh, the national chairman of the secular Democratic Action Party (DAP) criticized the Islamic party's president for his statement on Hudud.
Harun said the party is behind Hadi and viewed Karpal's criticism as a personal opinion as a lawyer.
"I think whether it is against the Constitution or not is just his (Karpal's) personal opinion and comment as a lawyer, Harun said.
"As a PAS member, I am fully behind Hadi."
With an estimated 800,000 members, PAS is the main rival of Prime Minister Najib Razak's United Malays National Organization.
A few years ago, PAS has enacted the hudud (prescribed Islamic penalties) laws in Kelantan, to be imposed only on Muslims who represent about 90 per cent of the state's 1.5 million population.
The laws introduced Shari`ah punishments for theft, robbery, adultery, liquor consumption and apostasy.
The leader of PAS Ulema council confirmed that Hudud can only be implemented through a parliamentary majority.
"If we have enough majority (of seats), if Pas is stronger than our allies, we will implement (hudud and the amendment to the Constitution)," Harun said.
He added that hudud remains PAS's intention despite the criticism it received from both its allies in Pakatan and rivals Barisan Nasional.
The Islamic party had already enacted the law in Kelantan and Terengganu but faced constitutional restraint in its implementation.
"We are a party that is championing Islam, Harun said.
Of course we will implement what is required by Islam. Pas will always be behind Hadi and the party's struggle to uphold Islam in the government and administration of the country."
Malaysia's parliamentary elections are due in 2013, but expectations are high that the polls could be called much earlier.
Muslim Malays form about 60 percent of Malaysia's 26-million population, while Christians make up around 9.1 percent.
Buddhists constitute 19.2 percent, Hindu 6.3 while other traditional Chinese religions make up the rest of the population.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net