Monday, February 05, 2007

Deriding PAS is deriding democracy
Mohamed Hanipa Maidin
Feb 10, 04 09:28am
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I don't know whether Faruoq Omaro (‘PAS can take their double standards somewhere else’) really knows what democracy is all about. His conclusion that ‘a progressive and democratic society like Malaysia does not need a political party like PAS and PAS should go down the drain just like the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM)' reflects his shallow grasp of the meaning of democracy.

PAS has been in Malaysian politics for half a century participating in a democratic process albeit BN's version of democracy. It is much better if Farouq could explain to us what really a progressive and democratic society is?

Can a society affirming draconian laws such as ISA (which allows detention without trial) - which has been consistently opposed by PAS and incessantly defended by BN - fall under the category of progressive and democratic society?

It is ironical for a progressive and democratic society to pass a harsh and undemocratic judgement on a political party such as PAS just because it is unable to understand certain PAS' policies and actions.

This is further aggravated by the fact that more often than not the judgement is pronounced without PAS being given an opportunity to rebut the allegations levelled against it. Farouq may agree with me that a democratic society never allows a political party to be discriminated against, particularly in propagating its ideas and policies to the people.

To accuse PAS of not respecting other communities' needs and desires in a peaceful manner when PAS said it would introduce the death penalty against Muslims who had converted to other religions is indeed a very wild allegation unsupported by any credible evidence.

Firstly, it is an erroneous statement to say that PAS has introduced the death penalty against the apostates. The death penalty imposed on the convicted apostate is already in the prophetic tradition and PAS merely translates it into the statute book. Apostasy is a very serious crime from an Islamic point of view and its seriousness must be judged by Islamic standards and not others.

This punishment can only be carried out after the due process with a very high standard of proof imposed on the prosecution. The punishment cannot be carried out if the offender repents and a reasonable time must be given to the offender to repent. Repentance (al-taubah) is nowhere in man-made law.

After all, in our so-called progressive and democratic society, the death penalty also exists and is currently being enforced for certain serious offences.

I don't know whether Farouq is aware that under Section 121 of our Penal Code that even an attempt to wage a war against the King is punishable by death. All legal experts unanimously agree that an attempt is not a complete act thus it should not be liable to be punished with such a sentence yet this is the law in our progressive and democratic society!

In Islam a full-fledged sentence cannot be invoked against anybody who merely attempts to commit a crime. An attempted apostate is not subjected to hudud law (death penalty) but only to takzir punishment.

As regard to the dress code let me remind you, Farouq, it is everywhere in Malaysia even in the whole world, not only in Terengganu. Go and see for yourself in any Malaysian court and you will find that people (non-Muslims included) are not free to wear as they choose. Remember that his dress code was not created by PAS.

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