On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Lulled into complacency

LET’S get the argument straight: The plan by PAS to implement hudud laws if it forms the next federal government is not just about applying the laws to Muslims but it is also a radical change to our legal system.

Malaysia’s legal system is founded and based on secular laws. That is the basis of our laws. Our parliamentary system is Westminster-style democracy, and we want to keep it that way.

Clear-cut lines: Separate payment counters for male and female customers at a shop in Terengganu. Many early opponents of hudud laws have began to lull their supporters into believing that hudud and the Islamic state is for Muslims only

Now, we hear Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim coming out in the open to support the Islamist party’s hudud plan.

We cannot have apologists coming out to support this because an endorsement of this is the beginning of the creation of an Islamic state, which PAS wants to set up.

Neither should anyone buy the pathetic excuse that PAS, on its own, cannot push its Islamic programme, which it has consistently advocated.

Let’s handle this with eyes wide open and not say we were never given advance notice by PAS. It has been consistent. Only some of us are not.

There are some non-Muslim supporters who refuse to believe what PAS plans to do for political reasons of their own.

Haven’t we heard before that PAS on its own cannot muscle enough votes to push through its agenda? Of course, it can with enough support from PKR and others.

DAP leader Karpal Singh must be saluted for his outright objections against Anwar. He has never backed down from his relentless opposition to any attempt, however feeble, to push hardline Islamic plans that run against the fabric of a multi-racial Malaysia.

The veteran DAP leader has correctly pointed out that in Arab countries, where the Islamic laws are implemented, it covers non-Muslims as well. And PAS has never told us what model it has in mind or promised to keep the status quo of the legal system.

But Karpal Singh has become a lone voice now. There seems to be less angry voices, or none at all, from politicians who see nothing wrong in compromising their stand with hopes of capturing power no longer a distant mirage.

The acceptance of PAS’ conservative agenda has crept in much faster than we think. We hear those who stand up to PAS’ anti-concert demonstrations being dismissed as indulging in petty issues, without seeing the larger picture of interference in choice.

Suddenly, many early opponents of hudud laws have began to lull their supporters into believing that hudud and the Islamic state is for Muslims only.

Do we really believe that under PAS rule, the theologians and ideologues would allow the existing secular court structure to remain?

Do they really believe they will allow us to continue the liberal lifestyle of non-Muslims and moderate Muslims?

The first step must never be allowed to begin and if we let down our guard, they will begin tearing down the present secular structures.

It’s already bad enough that those who speak up have been intimidated, shouted down, bullied and threatened with the tired arguments that opponents are against the religion. Or simply that you are religiously unqualified to talk about the subject.

Now, doesn’t that tell you a lot about the future scenario when such an argument is pushed into your face?