Democracy goes both ways

Currently, there is so much havoc that is splitting the country over a set of laws that is of such small scope, even the quantity of it can be counted on just your hand. For the uninformed, the state of Kelantan is on a quest to uphold Hudud laws as laws that is recognized in Malaysia. Hudud covers seven and ONLY SEVEN moral acts:

  1. Theft
  2. Highway robbery
  3. Adultery
  4. Sexual slander
  5. Pre-marital sex
  6. Apostasy and waging war against Islam
  7. Drinking alcohol

The elitist, the mostly educated, the Sisters-In-Islam kind, the muslim liberals, the whole of non muslim society, and the mainstream professional with an almost equivocal voice does not support the implementation of hudud in Kelantan.

There are plenty of very wordy, populist, human rights advocating, heady with righteousness reasons out there that you can google (hint: all in facebook statuses).

I agree with these opinions. Kelantan is ill-equipped in so many ways i cannot even start. Infrastructure and the right economic conditions for starters. Yusuf Qaradawi had elucidated a set of preconditions to be met before any Hudud can be enforced. Can Kelantan claim to have satisfied the following pre-requisites for the implementation Hudud?:

  • Establish true Islam where society is pious and God-fearing
  • Ensure the economic needs of the people are met
  • Provide employment opportunities for all
  • Reduce the income gap and ensure there is no poverty

Historically, we have to recognize that Hudud has had a bad track record of implementation as well. In all of these botched cases, the whole point and spirit of Hudud; which is to portray Islam as a just society,protect it’s inhabitants,and gain overall support for Islam never did materialize.

In fact, the effect was the exact opposite.

Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Libya do not exactly boast stellar human rights records. This is not due to the fault of the law in itself , but stems from the flawed implementation that is so dishonest to the integrity and the real spirit of the law (another whole discussion altogether)

However, have we forgotten that Kelantanese are also Malaysians? And as a Malaysian, they have every other right as any other Malaysian to decide what they want in their lives and their society. Democracy goes both ways, and the mainstream opinion sometimes forget that those rights also belong to the people who does not share the same values as them. Malaysia after all, is of diverse demographics and mentality, and there should be no one size fits all solution.

How about this:

Kelantan can keep its purist Islamic governing if the people choose to do so.

In the same context as..

Sarawak can keep it’s secular government if the people choose to do so.

All combined within a larger federation and devolving powers mostly to the state. (which ain’t going to happen because Putrajaya loves Kelantan’s oil)

A contract can be procured that while each state can choose its character, each state shall not try to ‘convert’ each other, rather stay committed in keeping the union come what may

Perhaps we might want to take a step back and open a referendum for voting in Kelantan and ask whether the electorate supports the governing party’s aspirations. And if the result is an overwhelming yes, then who are we–the non-kelantanese–to question their rightly democratic wants?

After all, democracy goes both ways.

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