PETALING JAYA (The Star/Asia News Network) - Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, deputy president of Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), the biggest ethnic Chinese party in the ruling coalition, issued on Sunday (May 29) a statement protesting a Bill that could lead to strict Islamic criminal laws called hudud being implemented in Kelantan.
Dr Wee said the Bill, tabled in Parliament by Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) chief Abdul Hadi Awang on Thursday, would "divide our nation along religious lines" and have "wide-ranging political and social repercussions".
Dr Wee added that he would resign from his post as Minister in the Prime Minister's Department if the Bill is passed. The vow mirrors that made by MCA President Liow Tiong Lai on Saturday, who said he would quit as Transport Minister if he fails to defeat the Bill.
The following is Dr Wee's full press statement:
"I am apprehensive about the wide-ranging political and social repercussions as a result of the Private Member's Bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act tabled by Marang MP Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang in the Dewan Rakyat.
Despite our diversity of cultures and beliefs, Malaysia had enjoyed peace and stability due to the rule of law and the moderate stand long taken by our forefathers. However, it is clear that with the tabling of such a law, we are entering uncharted waters with the potential to divide our nation along religious lines.
Even as I am now overseas recuperating from a medical treatment, I continue to stand together with MCA President Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai. Together we have had in-depth discussions and analyses about the implications of the Bill. We believe that the Bill will undermine the basic structure of our Federal Constitution and pave the way for subversion of our secular governance system.
There will be no turning back once theocracy reigns supreme over our Federal Constitution. As Cabinet Members and leaders of MCA, we hold ourselves accountable in the quest to uphold the principle of moderation in Malaysia. We have the duty and obligation to express our strongest opposition to the Bill. Hence, we will relinquish our ministerial positions should the Bill be passed in the Dewan Rakyat. This is not a threat but a responsible decision of MCA leaders.
Certain parties claim that the Bill is not a Hudud Bill as it only seeks to enhance the Syariah Court power to dispense punishments. However, we must not take any chance by assuming that the Bill will have no implications to Malaysians at large. Whipping is clearly one of the punishments under the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code II. There is no question that the Bill opens the floodgates to further encroachment of our legal system. Other punishments under the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code II will eventually follow should the Bill go through.
We take the firm view that the implementation of Hudud is the Pandora Box that can never and should never be opened in Malaysia. We must make every effort to nib it in the bud.
I want to make it very clear that our opposition to the Bill has nothing to do with the religion of Islam. We respect Islam as the religion of the Federation as provided under Article 3 of the Federal Constitution. Do not mix these two together. We oppose the Bill out of our strong sense of ownership to our beloved nation. We want to defend the secular governance system of Malaysia. We want Malaysia to prosper on the moderate path. We also want Malaysia to be the role model to the Islamic World.
MCA will never compromise on this issue. We will make every effort to oppose it under the BN framework and spirit. The BN spirit refers to the consensus decision making process of the component parties. Under this mechanism, all component parties have equal footing. At the end, should we fail, it also means the failure of the BN spirit.
I urge all members of MCA to stay united and work with other BN component parties to sustain the BN spirit of upholding moderation and respecting pluralism. The BN model has led our nation for more than half a century. We have seen disagreements but eventually we were able to sort things out peaceably. Let's not create a precedent that we are not able to cooperate on such an important matter.
MCA will never compromise on any act contrary to the founding intention and agreement of a modern and moderate Malaysia. We will not allow any attempt that will shake the foundation of our nation. This is our definitive stand and our promise to all Malaysians."