CAIRO - Defying criticism over plans to enforce hudud, Malaysia's main Islamic party has renewed a pledge to implement Islamic penalties if it wins election in the Asian Muslim country.
So far, hudud is still relevant, Dr Mahfodz Mohamad, the Deputy Chief of Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) Ulama wing, was quoted as saying by The Malaysian Insider on Sunday, November 18.We will implement hudud in a democratic system if we win a lot of seats.
It is not impossible that hudud can be implemented in Malaysia, Mahfodz told the closing speech at the party's annual conference.
Mahfodz reminded PAS party not to forget Islam and hudud while fighting for winning majority in the coming election.
A benevolent state' must be based on the Qur'an, sunnah and ijtihad ... not the -isms which contradict Islam, he said.
A debate on hudud has gripped Malaysia in recent month after PAS leader Abdul Hadi Awang said in May that the party would seek to amend the constitution to apply hudud if it won the election.
But his proposal has met strong opposition from his coalition partners, including the secular Democratic Action Party (DAP).
The debate comes amid a changing political landscape in the Muslim-majority country as polls have shown that Malaysians were willing to apply Islamic Shari`ah.
A recent survey of Malaysian Muslim youth showed that nearly three-quarters back the idea for the Qur'an to replace the Federal Constitution as the country's highest law.
The poll by independent pollster Merdeka Center showed that about 72 percent of Muslims aged 15 to 25 support the Muslim holy book as the highest law while 25 percent disagree.
Malaysia's parliamentary elections are due in 2013, but expectations are high that the polls could be called much earlier.
With an estimated 800,000 members, PAS is the main rival of Prime Minister Najib Razak's United Malays National Organization.
Hudud are part of PAS' political agenda and has been one of the pillars of its policies.
A few years ago, PAS has enacted the hudud laws in its stronghold in Kelantan to be imposed only on Muslims, who represent about 90 percent of the state's 1.5 million population.
The laws introduced hudud for theft, robbery, adultery, liquor consumption and apostasy.
For Muslims Only PAS leaders have reiterated that hudud will only be applied on only Muslims, denying claims that non-Muslims will be subjected to the penalties.
Hudud is (PAS') rights (to implement), and we are not forcing non-Muslims (to follow it), PAS leader Abdul Hadi Awang told reporters after closing the party's 58th annual conference.
And the rights of non-Muslims are allowed by their own religion ... for example, liquor is allowed by their religion ... although it is haram in Islam, it is still their right.
Abdul Hadi's comments came in response statements by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who challenged PAS to implement hudud for all, including the non-Muslims, in order to be fair.
PAS also denied friction with his coalition partner, including the secular Democratic Action Party (DAP), on hudud.
DAP, PKR have accepted Islam as the religion of the federation, PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali said, referring to coalition partner People's Justice Party (PKR).
Don't equate them disagreeing over hudud, with them rejecting (Islam). It is not the same.
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.