Monday, October 3, 2011

Between A Rock And A Hard Place - Is Malaysia Kaput?

Malaysians were eagerly looking forward to the coming 13th general election which, even though it is not due till 2013, many are expecting to be held soon probably in November or early next year.

They were looking forward to the real possibility of kicking out the Barisan coalition led government which has been ruling the country for the past half century and more.

This is especially so when in the previous 12th general election on March 8th 2008, the opposition coalition Pakatan were, for the first time in Malaysian history, able to deny the Barisan coalition a 2/3 Parliamentary majority.

The Pakatan coalition have been doing fine since, running the States of Selangor and Penang - which they managed to wrest from Barisan at the last general election - very well and earning praise not only from Selangorians and Penangites but also from the Auditor-General himself.

Malaysians were tired of 50+ years of the Barisan government - of arrogance, corruption, abuse of power,  mismanagement and the lack of accountability and when public institutions including the law enforcement agencies and the judiciary have come to be perceived as having been compromised.

All this hope of better days and a more accountable government has unfortunately gone up in smoke when Pas (An Islamic Party) and a partner of the Pakatan coalition insisted on implementing hudud laws when they come to power.

Hudud laws are a sensitive subject to the non-Muslims who form some 40% of the Malaysian population, and I dare say that a seizable number of Malays too may not be too eager to embrace them but who for one obvious reason or another dare not oppose their proposed  implementation.

Pas have been trying to assure the non-Muslims by saying that hudud laws will not concern them since they will only apply to the Muslims. However, I have always been suspicious of Pas.

It is not possible for there to be two sets of laws on criminal matters, one covering the Muslims and the other the non-Muslims. Take the case of a Muslim and a non-Muslim committing zina i.e illicit sex with each other. Under the hudud law the poor Muslim is likely to be stoned to death once found guilty while the non-Muslim offender gets away?

Pas's assurance that they will implement the laws fairly does not exactly convince anyone. A look at the failed Muslim states in the Middle-East, Africa and Indian sub-continent is instructive.

So, between a rock and a hard place or the devil and the deep blue sea, is Malaysia kaput, finished?

I don't know. But Pakatan as a coalition looks like losing my vote.

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