Brunei, a tiny oil-rich kingdom adopts Shariah Law recently. Almost immediately, Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air, owned by the country through its Brunei Investment Agency were swarmed by American protesters urging the government of Brunei to divest itself. It will be interesting to see if Brunei, ruled by absolute monarch, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, could weather more pressures in days to come.
Back in Malaysia, the same excitement over hudud law was played to the peak by PAS and UMNO, joined by other non-Muslim parties. Just when I had stocked barrels of popcorn and gallons of Coke to watch this blockbuster movie, the champion – PAS – suddenly drops a bombshell by postponing the supposedly private member’s bill in Parliament this June. Apalah – potong stim saja (spoils the orgasm, *yawn*).
That’s right, as expected, PAS chicken out from it’s chest-thumping hudud law. We had written why PR (Pakatan Rakyat, or People’s Alliance) have to do nothing because BN (Barisan Nasional, or National Front) was self-destructing (read here) . But we also wrote how PR may not last till the next general election (read here). The main party that could make or break BN is none other than PAS.
It was amusing that PAS (Islamic Party of Malaysia) was dumb enough to play the hudud card again. But PAS wasn’t a clever party to start with. Otherwise how do you explain its anxiety to go to bed again with UMNO; the same party (then Alliance government) which lured it to bed in 1972, sodomised it for a good 6 old years before booting it out in 1978? Old prostitutes never learn, do they?
If hudud was such a jolly good product, why only 11 members out of 57 OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) countries adopt it? And these are Islamic countries which are more Islamic than Malaysia, mind you. Furthermore, if hudud law could swing Malay-ethnic votes in favour of PAS, theoritically, its past achievement should be at least on par with UMNO, in terms of parliamentary and state seats won.
Looking at the historical chart, obviously PAS could give UMNO a run for their money “only” when it join forces with other opposition parties – first with Alternative Front in 1999 and then with People’s Alliance in 2008 and 2013. On its own, PAS could only achieve pathetic results. But its image as hudud champion was the loudest when it was fighthing alone. In other words, people don’t give a damn about hudud.
So, what give that PAS suddenly wanted to implement hudud? First, it was open to work with UMNO on hudud. Then it said the plan was only for Kelantan state. Now, they want to postpone it pending further technical study. Aiyah, why such a pussy? With BN’s 133 simple majority plus PAS’s 21 seats, they could easily bulldoze for the hudud law. Why chicken out at the eleventh hour, before the Parliament session next month?
Aha, but here comes the complications, risks and the bluffs. UMNO, the party that is still ROFL at PAS’s stupidity, has no intention whatsoever in supporting PAS’s hudud law. The biggest party was just toying and provoking PAS. UMNO will just give a lame excuse about constitutional crisis at the last minute, before passing the bucks to PAS, if PAS is idiot enough to present it in the Parliament.
This is not a game for a small kid like PAS. If UMNO was serious about implementing hudud, they would have done so even back in the 1950s, when they commanded two-thirds majority. With the exception of 1969, Alliance Party (later Barisan Nasional) could easily implement hudud anytime from 1959 to 2004. But they didn’t. Why would they want to do it now, if not to split PR and to swing non-Malay voters?
Actually, I’ve no problem with hudud law. As long as I do not steal or rape, I can ensure my hands, legs and most importantly my cuckoo bird stay intact (*grin*). But there’re two major problems with hudud implementation. First, just like Shariah Law, ultimately hudud law would be abused to cover the non-Muslims as well, despite PAS assurance of otherwise. Second, there would be selective prosecution.
With judiciary pillar now being part of executive power, you don’t need to be scientist to know that hudud law will not be applicable to BN supporters. That would leave non-BN supporters vulnerable to hudud punishments, including PAS members who foam at mouth about implementing it. Sure, bring it on and let’s see how many PAS supporters would be filling up forms to qualify them for handicap (OKU) benefits.
Even if you’re not BN members who could get away with rape and corruption, you can still bribe your way out. Money talks and bullshit walks. That’s why UMNO was not too concern about hudud, even if it decides to support PAS, for the sake of political survival. In reality, both PAS and UMNO just wanted to test the water and play the game of who will call the bluff first.
PAS has just realized that its hudud fiasco has given BN a free coupon to divert the much painful GST implementation. BN happily grab this opportunity and play the game for as long as possible. Suddenly, people regardless of religion has begun to despise PAS (and PR for that matter) and adore BN. But that’s what you get for having limited intelligent leaders such as Hadi Awang or apanama Kelantan Menteri Besar.
PAS still doesn’t understand that it scores well because people hate UMNO more than they love PAS, hence ABU (anything by UMNO). Do they want people to hate PAS more than they love UMNO, which is happening now? Were they so blind and naive not to see how government-controlled media would spin this issue as if PAS is another terrorist group, forcing hudud into non-Muslims’ throat?
Like it or not, the non-Muslims have no problem swinging their votes back to BN, no matter how incompetence and corrupt they are. In fact, they have been supporting the evil BN for more than 50 years. Between corruption and the fear of losing your arms and legs, the choice is not that difficult to make, do they? Besides, non-Muslims can always move all their assets overseas, just like what the Indonesian Chinese did.
Interestingly, UMNO’s support for hudud was not risk-free at all, although the impact would not be as great as to PAS. Sarawak holds a powerful 25 parliamentary seats. Together with MCA, MIC, Gerakan seats of 12, that would be 37 seats package of hudud protesters from BN itself. If UMNO plays too seriously, the perception may swing this 37 seats towards opposition.
With the assumption that not all UMNO would support hudud (they actually don’t), Anwar is presented with PKR’s 30, DAP’s 38 and BN-non-UMNO rebel’s 37 seats, forming a strong 105 seats pact to rival UMNO and PAS 117 seats. With the sight of crucifixion, stoning, amputation, flogging and whatnot, it’s not too hard to get some frogs to jump from UMNO and even PAS itself.
Thus, do you really think UMNO was so adamant about changing the political landscape by creating Islamic and non-Islamic coalitions? UMNO also understands that BN is a fragile coalition nowadays. Sabah and Sarawak are already toying with the idea of pulling out from Malaysia. With the nation’s military efficiency at its “best”, it’s not hard to bet your money if this can be done.
Nevertheless, it was a surprise that BN’s component party, MCA, decided to chicken out from Bukit Gelugor by-election. The hudud issue is MCA’s trump card to reduce the late Karpal Singh’s invincible majority. This is the only chance to test the impact of PAS hudud law on the non-Muslims’ acceptance. Or did the military intelligence report shows MCA has a very high percentage of losing their deposit (*grin*)?
Moving forward, PAS is the biggest loser in this hudud game. The damage has been done and its own non-Muslim supporters would think twice about voting for the party again. Perhaps PAS thought people would forget about this issue, considering the next general election is four years away. But, PM Najib can always call for a snap election much earlier, if the ecosystem is favourable to him, no?
Perhaps PAS realizes its mistake and put a stop to the whole drama now. Similarly, UMNO saw the backlash from non-Muslims and the potential catastrophic, if it plays the game too far. After all, the main objective was to make money and without the non-Muslim mules working their arse off, the gravy train will be empty. That would be a sad thing to see, wouldn’t they?
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