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AMANAH minta KTMB dedah perbelanjaan 2013 hingga 2017

April 12, 2017
 

Pengarah Strategi Parti Amanah Negara (AMANAH) Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad meminta lembaga pengarah Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) mendedahkan perbelanjaannya dari tahun 2013 hingga 2017.

“Saya difahamkan, saban tahun kerajaan memperuntukkan secara purata RM2 billion untuk KTMB melalui program ‘Meningkatkan Keupayaan KTM’ yang disenaraikan dalam bajet tahunan kerajaan Persekutuan.

“Pada tahun 2013, kerajaan memperuntukkan anggaran RM3.25 billion, diikuti tahun 2014 (RM 2.17 billion), 2015 (RM 2.15 billion), 2016 (RM 1.76 billion) dan terbaru tahun 2017 sebanyak RM 2.36 billion.

“Saya dikhabarkan oleh pekerja KTMB bahawa sebahagian peruntukan KTMB yang termaktub dalam bajet kerajaan Persekutuan seperti subsidi tidak disalurkan terus kepada syarikat tersebut.

“Jika benar apa yang didakwa, ke manakah perginya peruntukan tersebut. Saya khuatir peruntukan kepada KTMB tidak disalurkan mengikut bajet yang diluluskan di Parlimen, atau kemungkinan wujudnya penyelewengan yang melibatkan pelbagai pihak,” katanya dalam kenyataan.

Baru-baru ini, Kementerian Pengangkutan memberi jaminan pekerja KTMB yang bakal terlibat dengan Perjanjian Akses Rangkaian Kereta Api (RNAA) tidak akan kehilangan pekerjaan.

Timbalan menterinya, Datuk Ab Aziz Kaprawi berkata, sebaliknya mereka akan diserap masuk ke dalam anak syarikat milik KTMB.

“Saya jamin gaji, faedah, dan apa-apa kelebihan yang dinikmati sebagai pekerja KTMB ketika ini tidak akan hilang mahupun berkurangan,” katanya dalam sidang akhbar di bangunan Parlimen.

Mengulas lanjut, Dzulkefly berkata, dalam tempoh lima tahun fiskal belanjawan, kerajaan memperuntukkan sekurang-kurangnya 11.69 billion ringgit kepada KTMB untuk meneruskan program berkenaan.

Peruntukan ini tidak termasuk dalam program-program KTMB lain yang diperuntukkan secara asing, seperti ‘subsidi tren tidak ekonomik’ dan ‘lintasan rata awam’, jelasnya.

“Dengan peruntukan yang banyak dalam masa lima tahun, saya juga tidak yakin dengan prestasi yang dipamerkan oleh KTMB.

“Orang ramai masih mengkritik keupayaan KTMB sebagai sebuah pengangkutan awam yang efisyen. Masalah kelewatan ketibaan tren dari mengikut jadual, sistem tiket yang tidak berfungsi dengan baik dan tahap kebersihan yang kurang memuaskan menyebabkan saya meragui ke mana peruntukan ‘Meningkatkan Keupayaan KTM’ dibelanjakan,” tambahnya.

Ia, ujar beliau, tidak termasuk harga tiket yang meningkat pada akhir tahun 2015 dan kerugian yang dihadapi oleh KTMB sebanyak 30 juta ringgit pada tahun 2015.

*JELASLAH RUU 355 HANYA MAINAN POLITIK UMNO BN*

April 3, 2017
*KENYATAAN MEDIA*
‘JELASLAH RUU 355 HANYA MAINAN POLITIK UMNO BN’
www.amanah.org.my
1. Kenyataan Perdana Menteri DS Najib Razak bahawa Kerajaan Persekutuan tidak akan membentangkan pindaan Akta Mahkamah Syariah 1965 (RUU 355) di Parlimen ekoran keputusan mesyuarat Majlis Tertinggi Barisan Nasional tidak mengejutkan kami dari Parti Amanah Negara (AMANAH). Hari ini terbukti bahawa segala-galanya hanyalah permainan politik Umno dan Barisan Nasional.
2. Sejak awal lagi kami mengambil pendirian jika benar-benar kerajaan ikhlas dan yakin bahawa isu RUU 355 sebagai keperluan penting perundangan dan isu substantif, pastinya kerajaan sendiri akan mengambil inisiatif memindanya.
3. Akan tetapi oleh kerana motif sebenarnya ialah kepentingan politik maka RUU 355 telah digunakan sebagai umpan untuk menarik Pas keluar dari muafakat Pakatan Rakyat. Lalu berlakulah apa yang berlaku sehingga kemudiannya Pas berpecah selepas berlakuknya pembersihan golongan progresif dan pro-PR.
4. Lalu Najib dan pimpinan Umno telah ‘melayani’ kehendak Pas seolah-olah menyokong RUU 355 ini. Sekarang seluruh rakyat jelas kedudukan perkara ini bahawa perhitungan kepentingan politik Umno-BN menentukan dan mengatasi segala-galanya.
*Takfiri dan pecah belah umat*
5. RUU 355 juga berjaya memecahbelahkan umat Islam sendiri sehingga mengheret ke kancah ‘takfiri’, lalu semua pihak yang mempertikaikan apa jua aspek cadangan RUU 355 itu atau menolaknya adalah dianggap telah ‘gugur aqidah’ dan menentang Syariah Islam.
6. Untuk ingatan, Pihak Pejabat Mufti Wilayah Persekutuan digunakan untuk menyatakan semua ahli parlimen ‘wajib’ sokong, sedangkan RUU 355 adalah proses legislatif (at-Taqnin) yang semestinya melalui proses perbahasan dan perdebatan untuk mencari langkah-langkah terbaik bagi mencapai cita-cita murni memperkasakan Mahkamah Syariah, bukan hanya sekadar mempertingkatkan jumlah hukuman semata-mata tanpa ianya tidak melalui kajian impak dan kemunasahan yang mendalam.
7. ‘Himpunan Ungu’ di Padang Merbok pula memperlihatkan terdesaknya Pas dan Umno mahu menggunakan sentimen Islam-Melayu sehingga menimbulkan kebimbangan kepada asas negara ini dibina iaitu permuafakatan dan perpaduan nasional antara kaum dan agama. Seperti didakwa sesetengah pimpinan Pas dan Umno, kononnya RUU355 adalah lambang “penyatuan umat Melayu-lslam”.
8. AMANAH, sejak awal lagi telah tegaskan bagaimana sebenarnya pandangan kami tentang perkara ini. Ahli-ahli Parlimen kami telah mengemukakan cadangan balas tentang RUU355 bagi ‘Memperkasakan Mahkmah Syariah’ secara substantif dan menyeluruh. Justeru itu saya menyeru umat lslam dan seluruh rakyat untuk kembali kepada isu besar yang sedang mengancam survival dan kelangsungan tanah air tercinta ini.
*Reformasi sistem dan masalah sebenar rakyat*
9. Rakyat perlu segera kembali memahami bahawa reformasi penting dan kritikal buat kesejahteraan dan kemakmuran seluruh negara adalah dengan menolak penguasa politik yang rasuah, tidak amanah, tidak kompeten, jenis balun, boros dan bolot kekayaan negara.
10. Bebanan kos sara hidup rakyat di segi pemakanan, pengangkutan, kesihatan, pendidikan, perumahan, peluang pekerjaan bagi penganggur khasnya belia dan graduan, kejatuhan nilai ringgit, impak cukai GST dan penarikan pelbagai subsidi untuk rakyat, adalah isu-isu sebenar yang cuba dialih pandang olih kerajaan Najib. Menolak pimpinan yang yang rasuah, merompak, mencuri wang rakyat dan membebankan rakyat adalah tanggungjawab semua pihak.
11. Hentikan dari dipermain dan diperbodohkan dengan polemik RUU 355 ini oleh golongan yang mahu mengekalkan kuasa Umno BN dan mereka yang menyokong penguasa politik yang rasuah dan tidak amanah ini.
#AMANAHDemiNegara
HAJI MOHAMAD SABU
Presiden,
Parti Amanah Negara
3 April 2017

Perangkaan Bank Negara lenyapkan impian Najib

April 2, 2017

        MKINI  31 Mac 2017, 5:56 petang   

Perangkaan prestasi ekonomi yang dikeluarkan oleh Bank Negara Malaysia baru-baru ini telah menafikan dakwaan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak bahawa Malaysia berada di landasan betul ke arah menjadi sebuah negara berpendapatan tinggi menjelang 2020.

Melihat keadaan semasa, Pengarah Strategi Parti Amanah Negara (AMANAH) Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad berkata, pertumbuhan tahunan Keluaran Negara Kasar (KNK) sebanyak 12 peratus (13.5 peratus lebih tepat) diperlukan, secara konsisten sehingga 2020, untuk mencapai KNK sebanyak AS$15,000 ( RM64,500) pada tahun 2020.

“Itu misi mustahil, memandangkan KNK per kapita pada tahun 2016 adalah AS$9,096 atau RM37,738,” kata Dzulkefly dalam satu kenyataan hari ini.

Beliau berkata laporan Bank Negara yang dikeluarkan baru-baru ini secara tidak sengaja mengambarkan bahawa sasaran Najib untuk Malaysia menjadi negara ekonomi berpendapatan tinggi menjelang 2020 menjadi hampir tidak lagi dapat dipertahankan atau tidak boleh dicapai.

Pemimpin AMANAH itu berkata pelan Najib adalah untuk mengangkat KNK Malaysia kepada AS$523 bilion menjelang tahun 2020, dan untuk meningkatkan pendapatan per kapita daripada AS$6,700 kepada sekurang-kurangnya AS$15,000 bagi memenuhi syarat Bank Dunia untuk diiktiraf sebagai sebuah negara berpendapatan tinggi.

Untuk mencapai matlamat ini, beliau berkata, Malaysia memerlukan pertumbuhan KNK sebanyak enam peratus setahun. Ini adalah sesuatu yang menurut laporan Bank Negara tidak berlaku, kata Dzulkefly.

Beliau berkata laporan BNM 2016 itu mencatatkan pendapatan per kapita sebanyak AS$9,238 (RM36,078) pada 2015, adalah berdasarkan kadar pertukaran ASS$1 kepada RM4.01.

Bagi tahun 2016, ia mencatatkan pendapatan per kapita sebanyak AS$ 9,096 (RM 37,738) berdasarkan kadar pertukaran AS$1 kepada RM4.45.

Bagi 2017, sehingga Mac, pendapatan per kapita meningkat kepada RM39,656 tetapi disebabkan kadar pertukaran berada pada kadar RM4.45, ia menjadi AS$ 8,906 atau AS$9,889, jika kadar pertukaran adalah pada RM4.01.

Berdasarkan ini, Dzulkefly berhujah bahawa selama tiga tahun berturut-turut, Najib gagal mencapai pertumbuhan ekonomi yang disasarkan dan sebaliknya trend itu sentiasa menurun.

Mahathir, Wan Azizah ‘simbol’ HARAPAN baru – Way To Go PAKATAN HARAPAN (BARU)! Just beware of the divisive tactics of the enemies…Slowly but Surely..We will get there insyaAlLah!

March 29, 2017

Susan Loone     Hari ini, 2:48 tengahari  MKini

Lim Guan Eng menggambarkan dua doktor yang menjadi tokoh pembangkang ketika ini – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad dan Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail – sebagai “simbol” gabungan baru Pakatan Harapan (HARAPAN).

Kata ketua menteri Pulau Pinang itu, HARAPAN yang kini mempunyai anggota baru bercadang untuk membentuk semula masa depan politik Malaysia, sama seperti apa yang berlaku di AS yang cuba mengubah semula hubungan Washington – Kremlin.

Menurut Guan Eng, HARAPAN berjanji akan mengekalkan semua kebaikan, mengetepikan apa saja keburukan dan mengalu-alukan sesiapa yang berjuang membanteras amalan rasuah dalam sebuah kerajaan demokratik.

“Ini yang ingin dicapai HARAPAN dengan adanya anggota baru.

“Seorang pernah menjadi sebahagian daripada kerajaan, dan seorang lagi pemimpin pembangkang,” katanya merujuk kepada Dr Mahathir dan Dr Wan Azizah.

Setiausaha Agung DAP itu berkata demikian pada sidang media di George Town, Pulau Pinang hari ini.

Dr Mahathir yang pernah menjadi perdana menteri selama kira-kira 22 tahun kini adalah pengerusi Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (BERSATU), manakala Dr Wan Azizah adalah isteri bekas musuh ketatnya, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Dr Mahathir juga sebelum ini pernah berseteru dengan Guan Eng dan bapanya, Lim Kit Siang.

Bagaimanapun, mereka kini berdamai kerana disatukan oleh matlamat yang sama, iaitu mengalahkan kerajaan pimpinan Datuk Seri Najib Razak melalui pilihan raya umum akan datang.

Sementara itu Guang Eng menafikan Dr Mahathir dan Dr Wan Azizah sudah dilantik sebagai penasihat HARAPAN.

“Kedudukan mereka belum ditentukan dan akan diputuskan semasa mesyuarat akan datang.

“Adalah wajar untuk Dr Mahathir dan Dr Wan Azizah menjadi simbol HARAPAN.

“Kita ada seorang lelaki dan seorang wanita, dan tujuannya adalah untuk menunjukkan semangat perpaduan,” katanya.

Pagi tadi seorang pemimpin Parti Amanah Negara (AMANAH) menyatakan HARAPAN bersetuju melantik Dr Wan Azizah dan Dr Mahathir sebagai penasihat jawatankuasa penaja gabungan pembangkang itu.

Keputusan untuk membentuk 18 ahli jawatankuasa penaja itu, kata Pengarah Komunikasi AMANAH, Khalid Samad, dibuat pada mesyuarat Majlis Presiden HARAPAN Isnin lalu.

Dzulkefly: Hello PM, where are the 1.8 million jobs? 61% unemployed were youth and those with tertiary education being the highest….Sigh.

March 28, 2017

Dzulkefly: Hello, where are the 1.8 million jobs?

| March 28, 2017

Amanah leader points to apparent conflict between Bank Negara’s report that youth unemployment rate reached 10.7% in 2015 and PM’s claim that 1.8 million jobs were created between 2010 and 2016.

Dzulkefly-Ahmad-jobKUALA LUMPUR: Bank Negara Malaysia’s report on unemployment and the prime minister’s assertion on the creation of jobs are in conflict, Amanah strategy director Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said today.

Prime Minister Najib Razak said on March 22 that the National Transformation Programme (NTP) had created 1.8 million jobs between 2010 and 2016.

In his keynote address at the 2017 Global Transformation Forum here, Najib also said, through the NTP, no Malaysian would get left behind and that the needs of all people were being met.

In its Annual Report 2016, Bank Negara revealed that the youth unemployment rate in Malaysia reached 10.7% in 2015, more than three times higher than the country’s unemployment rate of 3.1%.

The central bank noted that 61% of the total unemployed workers were youths, despite only making up a third of the labour force. It said youths with tertiary education were the highest among the unemployed – at 15.3%.

The data revealed that the high unemployment rate was recorded among the population aged 20-24 years, that is 42% in 2015, followed by those aged 25-29 years (20.4%) and those aged 15-19 years (19%).

In 2015, Bank Negara said, the youth unemployment rate increased by 1.2 percentage points from an estimated 9.5% to 10.7%, while the national unemployment rate increased by only 0.2 percentage points (2.9% to 3.1%) during the same period.

Mocking the prime minister, Dr Dzulkefly said: “He seems oblivious of the actual perennial problem of youth unemployment.

“So what is happening Mr Prime Minister.”

He said Najib’s announcement that ‘no Malaysian gets left behind’ rang hollow in the wake of the Bank Negara report.

“This is indeed alarming and unsettling, to say the least. Its direct impact on the rise of social problems, namely (youth) involvement in drugs and criminal activities, would be the visible consequences.

“The overall well-being of society needs to be secured through increasing social and welfare programmes to assist this critical group,” the Amanah leader said.

He said there were many reasons for youth unemployment, including an uneven growth between job creation and job-seekers and a mismatch in skillsets between employment demand and supply.

But, he charged, not much had been done to address these problems.

Saying youth unemployment and underemployment were still pernicious, Dzulkefly added: “Sorry PM, you failed!”

 

 

PM, your 1.8 million jobs (created) rang hollow.
1. When the PM Najib Razak proudly announced that 1.8 millions jobs (22 March, Bernama) were created from 2010 to 2016 under the National Transformation Programme, he seems oblivious of the actual perennial problem of youth unemployment.
2. Najib categorical announcement that ‘no Malaysian gets left behind’ rings hollow when last week Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Annual Report of 2016 revealed that youth unemployment reached 10.7% in 2015, more than three times (3x) higher than the country’s unemployment rate of 3.1% (which arguably is a relatively good number).
3. Youth unemployment rate has outpaced the rest of the population by about 6 times higher (1.2 percentage point as compared to 0.2 percentage points). The data revealed that unemployment rate was recorded at 42% among 20-24 years in 2015 followed by aged group between 25-29 years at 20.4% and 15-19 years at 19%. It also specifically pointed out that unemployment is especially pronounced amongst graduates. The unemployment rate with tertiary education is at 15.3%.
4. So what is happening Mr Prime Minister. Stop, pulling wools over the rakyat eyes, with all your ‘magical numbers’ as you’re quite evidently ill-informed.
5. According to the report, youth represent more than half (61%) of the total unemployed workers, while only making a third of the labour force currently.
6. This is indeed alarming and unsettling to say of the least. Its direct impact on rise of social problems, namely involvement in drug and criminal activities would be the visible consequences. The overall well-being of society would have have to be secured through increasing social and welfare programmes as to assist this critical group.
7. As is always explained, youth unemployment is a multi-factorial problem. Rationale of a uneven growth between job creation and job-seekers, a mismatch of sort in skillsets between demand and supply-side has been unending  but not much has been addressed appaently.
8. Besides, policy framework must go beyond skills and training development but also to put in place effective functioning feedback mechanism between the industry and educational institutions.
9. Suggestion for an intensive tri-partite involvement of policymakers, educationists and private sectors employers be instituted has time and again be repeated,  but youth unemployment and underemployment is a still pernicious and a perennial problem. Sorry PM, you failed!
Dr Dzullefly Ahmad
Strategy Director
Parti Amanah Negara
28 March 2017.

One man who is so focused on winning the 14th GE and getting rid of the Kleptocrat and…..he is Tun Dr Mahathir!

March 21, 2017

Dr M: PAS has no right to impose conditions on Harapan parties

Read more: https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/376487#ixzz4bwls3mDx

PAS has no right to impose conditions on Pakatan Harapan parties, said Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“PAS has no right to place any conditions (on a member of Pakatan Harapan).

“A coalition has been formed. Whoever wants to join they can (do so), and there are no conditions,” he told a press conference in Putrajaya today.

The former premier was asked to comment on PAS’ plan to discuss the issue of severing ties with PKR at the Islamist party’s annual general meeting or muktamar next month.

Previously, PAS’ Permatang Pauh and Bayan Baru divisions announced that they are cutting ties with PKR.

Yesterday, the Harapan presidential council accepted Bersatu as a member, and agreed to Mahathir’s suggestion that the coalition be registered.

The former premier, in announcing Bersatu’s plan to join Harapan, also recommended that the coalition changes its name, as well as to create a common logo, symbol and election manifesto for the next general election. 

Meanwhile, Mahathir today said that Bersatu is a member of Harapan.

“As the fourth member, we are going to contest as Harapan and that is why the need for a (common) logo. The candidate chosen is the candidate for the coalition, not that of the individual party.

“We have to make sure the people recognise the symbol or logo and that belonging to the coalition, candidates represent the coalition,” he added.

The former premier said having a common logo for Harapan like BN or the Alliance (BN’s predecessor) was nothing wrong and he does not see any reason for the Registrar of Societies (ROS) to reject the move as it is not against any law.

“Hence, we should have a common logo and a new manifesto,” he said.

However, he said if the ROS disallowed it, Bersatu can contest on its own logo.

Read more: https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/376487#ixzz4bwls3mDx

What’s driving Malaysian support for Islamic penal code? So why would PM Najib Razak view it as a vote-winner? Read this piece….

March 20, 2017

What’s driving Malaysian support for Islamic penal code?

Critics say introduction of a strict sharia punishment code known as hudud could dissuade investment, strain social harmony, ruin Malaysia’s reputation and encourage extremism. So why would PM Najib Razak view it as a vote-winner?

By Danny Lim (South China Morning Post)

18 Mar 2017

As Malaysia considers the introduction of a strict sharia punishment code known as hudud, minorities have been left to consider their place in a country once lauded for diversity and moderation – and to ponder the wisdom of experts who warn creeping Islamisation could breed extremism.

Scenes of the tens of thousands who gathered in Kuala Lumpur in February to show their support for hudud are fresh in the minds of lawmakers who are being urged to debate the implementation of aspects of the code before the current parliamentary session ends on April 6.

Also at the forefront of their minds – and not least that of embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak – is the looming general election widely expected to be held this year. For the first time since the country’s independence from Britain in the 1950s, there appears a real possibility that the ruling coalition known as the Barisan Nasional (or National Front) could lose power (it clung on at the last election, in 2013, despite losing the popular vote).

How one Islamist party could sway Malaysia’s election

Given the tightness of the margins, an issue that for decades has been too divisive for lawmakers to entertain has emerged as an unlikely kingmaker.

Under Malaysia’s parallel legal system, secular federal laws operate in tandem with sharia courts that have jurisdiction only over Muslims and only in some aspects of (mostly civil) law that are not covered by the federal law. However, at present, those sharia courts are restricted from implementing the harshest punishments, for those crimes said to violate God’s boundaries (or hudud). In its purest, strictest interpretation, the hudud code prescribes amputations, stonings and even crucifixion for certain offences.

But there is sizeable support for implementing hudud – witnessed most recently at the rally in the capital to support a private member’s bill by Abdul Hadi Awang, the leader of the country’s influential Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS). His bill’s scope is limited: it seeks only to ease some of the restrictions imposed on the sharia courts and – the more archaic punishments, such as crucifixion, would remain off limits.

Still, the limited scope of the bill has done little to dispel the doubts of those who fear that in playing to the rural Muslim voters the politicians are embarking on a slippery slope.

Abdul Hadi’s bill alarms many of the country’s non-Malay minorities who see such efforts as part of a creeping Islamisation of the multi-ethnic country and claim it would dissuade investors and strain social harmony. About 23 per cent of Malaysians are ethnic Chinese and seven per cent Indian. The direst warnings see it as contributing to a climate of religious conservatism that could leave the country a fertile ground for the Islamic State terrorist group.

Abdul Hadi Awang, the leader of the country’s influential Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party. Photo: AFP

That leaves all eyes on Najib, who leads the United Malays National Organisation, the main party in the ruling coalition, and who is in need of a popularity boost.

On first glance, Najib appears an unlikely supporter of the bill. The ruling coalition has often exploited the issue to drive a wedge between opposition parties such as the PAS – the biggest Islamist party – and the secular Democratic Action Party. And it has been successful in doing so: in 2015, disagreement over hudud caused the disbandment of the opposition coalition, the People’s Alliance, just two years after it lost the 2013 elections (despite winning the popular vote).

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But Najib has plenty of reasons to rethink his position, not least among them the loss of support he has felt since being linked to a scandal at the state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), where investigators reportedly traced some US$700 million wired into his bank accounts. Both the fund and Najib deny wrongdoing, but the scandal has encouraged many Malaysians, particularly urbanites and non-Muslims, to turn away from his ruling coalition.

His response has been to court the PAS on the basis of Malay-Muslim unity with his own party. While he has so far stopped short of endorsing the bill, opponents fear that will be the ultimate quid pro quo the PAS demands.

Najib’s ploy, at least for now, appears to be working. The government’s move in May last year to allow Abdul Hadi to table the bill – the first private member’s bill to gain a hearing since 1988 – set the media agenda for two by-elections the following month, both of which were won by Najib’s ruling coalition with increased margins.

About 20,000 people are thought to have attended the rally in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: Reuters

Since then, Najib’s links to the PAS have been further highlighted. Last month, he and the PAS deputy president, Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, launched the Food Flotilla for Myanmar humanitarian aid mission. Just two weeks later, the rally in support of hudud took place in Kuala Lumpur where, in the crowd of predominantly PAS supporters, could be seen several leaders from Najib’s ruling coalition – one of whom said he had been given explicit approval from Najib to attend.

Given such developments, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the bill’s supporters are optimistic.

Yet Najib is wielding a double-edged sword. Some of his party’s partners in the ruling coalition, such as the Malaysian Chinese Association, have threatened to vote against the bill, while ministers and business groups warn it could drive away investors already spooked by the 1MDB scandal.

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In June, the International Trade and Industry Minister Ong Ka Chuan warned passing the bill would cause investors to reconsider their place in Malaysia. “Our trade will be affected and this will be detrimental to our economic fundamentals,” he said.

Even more striking are the warnings that calls for hudud are part of a creeping Islamisation that will breed extremism. In testimony to the US congress on assessing the threat terrorist group Islamic State posed to Southeast Asia, Joseph Liow of the Brookings Institution think tank said “the climate of religious conservatism and intolerance [in Malaysia] has created fertile conditions for [Islamic State’s] ideology to gain popularity”.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak attends the annual congress of his party, the United Malays National Organisation. Photo: AFP

While stressing that supporters of hudud were generally non-violent, Badrul Hisham Ismail, of Iman Research, said they nevertheless shared a strand of thought with the terrorist group. “It’s that perception that by going back to so-called pure Islam, you can solve problems – crime, corruption, socio-economic problems,” Badrul said.

The PAS brushes such warnings aside. “Investors will be assured if a country practices a system and laws that are just and transparent with zero corruption,” said the party’s information chief Nasrudin Hassan. “That is what Islam wants to build, through sharia law.”

DECADES OF DIVISION

The debate must be seen against a backdrop of decades of division on the issue, which reaches to the heart of Malaysia’s parallel legal system.

While Malaysia’s secular federal laws are based on the common law legal system inherited as a result of the country’s colonisation by Britain in the early 19th century, the constitution gives individual states the authority to legislate for offences and punishment of Muslims, except for matters already covered by federal law. This parallel sharia system covers matters like family law, religious observances and offences not covered by federal law such as adultery, false accusation of adultery, intoxication and heresy. Offences like theft, robbery, rape, murder, incest and unnatural sex are dealt with by the Federal Penal Code and hence off-limits for the states.

The Chinese admiral who spread Islam across Southeast Asia

The constitution also limits sharia courts in the penalties they can impose. The Sharia Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 imposes limits of a maximum of three years jail, fines of up to RM5,000 (HK$8,700) and whippings of up to six lashes.

It is these limits that the latest bill seeks to change – it envisages limits of a maximum of 30 years’ imprisonment, fines of up to RM100,000 and 100 lashes.

In 1993 and 2002, the state legislatures of Kelantan and Terengganu approved the use of hudud punishments such as amputation, stoning and crucifixion for offences such as theft, robbery, fornication, sodomy, false accusation of fornication, drinking and heresy.

But these punishments were unenforceable as they contravened the constitution’s limits on sharia.

While the hudud bill would not change this, critics fear it will be the thin end of the wedge – encouraging other states to follow suit and giving fuel to groups already calling for a wider application of hudud. “This will open the floodgates,” said Wong Chin Huat from the Penang Institute think tank.

Indeed, some groups are already calling for a wider application of hudud. While the PAS maintains that hudud should not be imposed on non-Muslims, groups like the influential Malaysian Muslim Solidarity (ISMA) movement have called for its universal application. The ISMA president, Abdullah Zaik, said: “We believe an Islamic system can be accepted and will assure everyone that an Islamic system will protect their interests.”

A Muslim child rides past flags belonging to the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party Terengganu, which has previously approved the use of hudud. Photo: AFP

The appetite for hudud had been building long before the rally in Kuala Lumpur. In a 2014 survey by pollsters Merdeka Centre, 71 per cent of Malay-Muslims supported its introduction (though approval from non-Malays was below 30 per cent).

That has led some to claim that increasing distrust in the government, rising crime and costs of living are fuelling an urge among Muslims to look to the divine for solutions. Others blame the PAS for indoctrinating Malay Muslims to believe that rejecting hudud is a rejection of Islam. “Today, even non-devout Muslims will say they want hudud, out of fear of apostasy,” said Wan Ji Wan Hussin, a Muslim preacher who has left the party.

Yet the Merdeka Centre poll also showed only 30 per cent of Malays thought the nation was ready for it.

This hesitance was echoed by Che Ibrahim Mohamed, a sharia lawyer and former member of the Kelantan technical committee on hudud. “[Hudud] shouldn’t be the priority right now,” he said.

“We need to ensure the needs of the people are met first. When their educational and welfare needs are met, then we can talk about the law. It’s like building a house, and hudud is the fence. We need to ensure the house is functional first before safeguarding it with a fence.”

ISMA’s Abdullah was not impressed by such arguments. “If crimes can be stopped solely by way of education and understanding, we would choose that path too. But where [society has been] unable to curb crime, the laws need to be in place. We do not need to wait for society to understand before implementing those laws.”

A LOSING BATTLE

With such firm views on either side of the debate it may seem hard to envisage a common ground being reached any time soon. Yet it might be that the two sides already have something in common – a misunderstanding about sharia.

Dzulkefly Ahmad, a former PAS leader who formed a new party, Amanah, said that the debate had “reduced everything to the punitive…. but sharia is not about that at all”.

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He noted that the Arabic word ‘hukm’ was used in the Koran to mean arbitration, judgment, authority and Allah’s will, but “the Malay word ‘hukum’, as used in Malay-Muslim society, had come to mean punishment and the penal code”. Consequently, “we’re in a losing battle if we want to disentangle [the debate]”.

Not only has this reductionism oversimplified the matter, it has made hudud appear a panacea in the Malay-Muslim psyche – a cure for crime, a symbol of identity, a cause for the politicians, a vote winner for a down at luck prime minister.

Whether or not the present bill passes – and whether or not it leads to the slippery slope feared by some, Dzulkefly is keen to shatter such illusions. “There has been empirical research done on countries that have implemented hudud and there is actually an inverse correlation between hudud and quality of life and justice. Sudan, Pakistan, Nigeria – look at their level of integrity, income disparity, crime, violence. It is not that simplistic,” he said.

“A lot of factors contribute to crime. But in this simplistic mind, if you get hudud implemented, all problems of man will be solved. If that was the case, the Prophet would’ve pronounced hudud from day one.”

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