KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — PAS lawmaker Syed Azman Syed Ahmad Nawawi urged the Terengganu legislative assembly today to hold a special session to debate its hudud enactment that has been stalled for 15 years as he sought to prevent the Islamic penal code from becoming a bargaining chip during elections.
The Batu Burok assemblyman said the Terengganu state Speaker has failed to provide reasons why the enactment has yet to be implemented despite gazettement, after his motion to review the reasons was rejected.
“Is my guess true, that the enactment becomes merely a political tool and to be peddled across the nation when the elections come? More unfortunately, this enactment will continue to be shelved and forgotten after elections end,” the maverick PAS assemblyman said in a statement.
“It is worse if the implementation is motivated towards merely political interest by making hudud a bargaining chip to gain support and not given the perspective based on the discipline of knowledge that is precious,” he added.
Malay Mail Online reported on March 13 that Syed Azman had submitted his motion asking for the actual reason behind the Terengganu Barisan Nasional government’s reluctance to proceed with implementing hudud.
Terengganu’s Syariah Criminal Offences (Hudud and Qisas) Enactment received the royal assent in 2002, but cannot yet still be implemented because Shariah courts cannot mete out harsh hudud punishments such as amputations, stoning, or death penalty.
Syed Azman said he was just informed that his motion has been rejected by Speaker Datuk Mohd Zubir Embong, but no reason was given behind the hudud enactment’s stalled implementation.
The lawmaker had previously said he does not see hudud implementation as a priority in the country at the moment, noting that there were many socio-economic issues of greater public concern.
The east coast state of Terengganu is almost entirely Malay-Muslim, with only a handful of other ethnic minorities residing there.
Terengganu recently made headlines for its enforcement of Islamic rules, when it announced that it would punish Friday prayer truancy, mull dress codes for tourists to the state, and nab unmarried couples riding motorbikes together.
In 2015, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abd Rahman said the Terengganu state government had no problem implementing hudud provided the public, especially non-Muslims, understand the controversial Islamic penal law.
In response, PAS president Abdul Hadi had said his party was ready to assist the Umno-led state government in its plans to do so.