On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Rosy hudud picture becoming horror show

In the run-up to the 1999 general election, there was no shortage of opposition
politicians, who appeared along with their PAS counterparts at ceramahs,
singing the same tune.

Trips were organised by some misguided Chinese groups to
Kelantan and Terengganu to convince the voters that the two states were role
models of what PAS wanted to achieve.

They blamed the media for the extremist image of PAS, saying these politicians
could be trusted. They were, of course, wrong and had the Chinese voters
supported the opposition front in 1999, we would be in dire straits now.

Last week, PAS president Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang announced that the Terengganu
government would impose the controversial hudud law on non-Muslims as

The PAS hardliner said the hudud law would cover non-Muslims when ''every
citizen understands them.''

That, of course, is very subjective. More so in Terengganu where non-Muslims
are a minority and will not figure much when the Islamist party decides that the
citizens are ready to live with the hudud law.

In pushing for the hudud law in the face of strong public opposition, Hadi has
shown total contempt not just for the Federal Constitution but for public

Worse still, he made offensive remarks about Christianity. He quoted a report
from the Daily Mail, an English newspaper known for sensationalism, that 80% of
male and female church leaders had sexual relations outside marriage and that
90% of them had engaged in unnatural sex.

He had singled out the report in the context of stressing a point on social
problems among church leaders.

Hadi's remarks are indeed provocative and seditious. Even with recent reports
of Catholic priests being involved in sex scandals, especially in the United
States, the majority of these Christian
leaders are committed to the faith and their service to the followers.

The majority of them have dedicated their lives to helping the people,
irrespective of their faiths, particularly in education through the missionary

The Catholic church has also been in the forefront in setting up old folks
homes and schools for the blind, something very evident in Malaysia.

Hadi, who is the Terengganu mentri besar, also pointed out that the Federal
Constitution was drafted by Lord Reid, a Christian, when debating the hudud

I cannot understand why Reid's religious background should be a factor. The
point is that the Federal Constitution, based on common law, has worked well
for this country.

It has been amended many times to suit the times but, more importantly, the
secular laws have been well accepted by the majority of Malaysians. The Federal
Constitution, which received the support of the main ethnic groups, have
guaranteed the rights of Malaysians, irrespective of their race and

For the Chinese community, the Federal Constitution erased questions about
their citizenship rights. They also enjoyed the right to vote, like their
fellow citizens of other races.

That right cannot be taken from them and the fact that they are Buddhists or
Christians have little relevance to their rights but the same cannot be said
about the hudud law.

The decision by the PAS-led Terengganu government should serve as a lesson to
opposition supporters, who back PAS for the sake of opposing the government,
without thinking of the consequences.

It is good that Malaysians have stood up and voiced their objections against
PAS's hudud law. The four Umno state assemblymen in Terengganu should have
voted against the bill instead of abstaining.

But the voters in Pendang and Anak Bukit in Kedah can express their protest
against the hudud law by rejecting PAS at the ballot box.