MCA’s Hudud Stand: The Mouse that Squeaked

Why is it that politicians in Malaysia finally talk some sense when they become ex-politicians? I am referring to Dr. Chua Soi Lek, former MCA President, who since his departure from his leadership position, has been talking more sense than before. In fact, so much so that some Malaysians may even reconsider their negative opinion on him. His latest public skewering of MCA is well worth disseminating

According to Dr. Chua, MCA should not be pointing fingers at the DAP but should prevent UMNO from supporting PAS’ parliamentary hudud bills. In his statement he pointed out that “if Umno MPs support PAS’ private bill in Parliament, MCA cannot continue to ignore the elephant in the room and blame others for supporting PAS hudud in Kelantan.” Further he noted that “to continue issuing statements condemning DAP is an exercise of futility. The Malaysian community expects more from MCA and it is time for MCA leadership to rise to the occasion.”

But is Dr. Chua’s statement itself an exercise in futility? Firstly it is important to note that Dr Chua’s statement, although carried in the internet media, has been kept out of the Star, the MCA-owned newspaper. No trace of it is found in the paper’s online and print versions. Not only will the majority Malay and Muslim community not be aware of this important stand taken by the MCA but the MCA grassroots – fed on an anti-DAP diet – will similarly be ignorant of the need to man the barricades against the imposition of hudud law. 

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Secondly, everyone including Dr. Chua and the present MCA leadership, knows that UMNO is not the most scrupulous party in the country. This is a party which has been the major player in squandering the country’s wealth, undermining our racial and religious unity, debasing the institutions of the state and bringing us closer to authoritarian rule – if we are not already there. So he can expect that big brother UMNO will pull the present MCA leader, Liow Tong Lai, aside and repeat the same message which was put to Dr. Chua during his own tenure as MCA chief. At that time, Umno president and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had told him to “tone down” his attack against the Islamic penal code as it could be twisted to portray MCA as being anti-Islam.

Why We Should Oppose Hudud

I would like to go further than Dr Chua in pointing out why MCA and all BN parties should oppose hudud. If hudud were ever to see the light of day in Malaysia we can be sure that there will be a massive outflow of investment, wealth and people from Malaysia.

It is not only the locals who will leave.  The international community – including foreign investors – has been more loud and vociferous in expressing concern about the growing Islamization in the country. Despite repeated assurances by the Prime Minister that we are and remain a moderate Muslim country, they see actions sanctioned by the state authorities such as on the Allah issue, as evidence of hard line and conservative Muslim political forces gaining dominance in Malaysia. 

Adoption by Parliament – even if a two thirds majority is not obtained – will be the beginning of the end for moderate and inclusive Islam in the country. Is the Middle East model of fundamentalist Islam which has brought destruction and disaster the model that Malaysian Muslims want to follow? I do not think so.

Malaysians are not expecting that the fight against hudud and other forms of Islamic practices that are being sneaked into the public sector should come only from Muslim moderates, civil society organizations or the opposition parties. We expect that the ruling government – that is the BN coalition – should be the first to stand up and say “no” to creeping Islamization and firmly reject any efforts to water down our secular constitution.

BN Component Parties Have to Say “No” to Hudud

Quite by coincidence, we saw a big public spectacle being made of the Barisan Nasional component parties pledging their support to Prime Minister Najib Razak’s leadership of the country. I am sure most Malaysians will feel much better if we had the same gang of BN high level apple polishers   finally summon up enough courage to call a similar press conference and photo opportunity to say “NO” to the imposition of hudud law in Malaysia.

When that happens, I will salute the MCA as the mouse that squeaked. 

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