Press Statement
16 December 2014
Implementing hudud would destroy the Constitution

Lawyers for Liberty views with extreme concern the Kelantan PAS government’s plan to hold a special state assembly sitting on 29 December 2014 in order to table an amendment on the Syariah Criminal Laws Act II 1993 (Amended 2014) and take a further step in implementing hudud.

This is an extremely irresponsible act of political grandstanding and blind faith that failed to take into account the context and best interest of Malaysia and its people, and the serious repercussion such an act would entail.

Harsh punishments like stoning to death (with stones of medium size), crucifixion and amputation of limbs are out of place in this day and age or in any modern and democratic society as they constitute torture, cruel and unusual punishment and would violate the right to life and the prohibition against torture.

Let us be clear – our Federal Constitution is secular in nature and does not allow for hudud to be implemented. Any attempt to introduce hudud would be unconstitutional as the hudud derives its ultimate authority from the Quran and therefore only possible under a theocracy. The Constitution on the hand is founded upon parliamentary democracy, fundamental liberties, equality and the rule of law – all concepts antithetic to hudud and its implementation.

In order for hudud to be implemented, the Constitution and its legislature, executive and judiciary, all other structures and institutions that make up Malaysia would need to be destroyed and reconstituted as being based on Islam and the Quran. That would not be possible unless there is an Islamic revolution like in Iran, Afghanistan or as presently occurring in some parts of Iraq and Syria controlled by ISIL.

Hudud does not have any divine or magical property to cure all the wrongs in society; see for example the implementation of hudud in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, northern Nigeria and by ISIL that has caused so much injustice, cruelty and suffering. Various Islamic scholars have also questioned whether implementing hudud in modern times is not only unrealistic but is most likely to produce the opposite result of Islamic justice and fair play.

We call upon PAS to reassess its position on hudud as according to various Islamic scholars, there are realities that must be taken into account before hudud can be considered in modern times: change of environment and temptation; divide between rich and powerful and poor and weak; existence of corruption, abuse of power, incompetence; selective implementation – i.e. the total absence of the necessary context and conditions for the implementation of hudud, all raises doubt and therefore hudud ought not be implemented.

Eric Paulsen
Executive Director
Lawyers for Liberty

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