Malaysia's opposition DAP cuts ties with PAS leader over hudud issue

Malaysia's opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) has severed ties with Parti Islam seMalaysia (PAS) president Abdul Hadi Awang, after accusing him of breaking his promise not to pursue the implementation of Islamic criminal laws without consulting opposition partners first.

In a hard-hitting statement on Monday, DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng said his party "deplores the dishonest and dishonourable acts" of Datuk Seri Hadi to "violate this spirit of consensus" within the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition.

"The DAP has lost trust and confidence in Hadi as a Pakatan Rakyat leader and will end ties and cease to work with him," Mr Lim said in a statement.

He added that DAP will meet coalition partner Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) to determine the future course of PR.

PAS' move to amend Kelantan's hudud laws to "improve" its scope came ahead of Mr Hadi submitting a private member's bill on March 18 to change federal laws which currently bar Islamic criminal codes from being enforced.

His own party leadership said it was not aware of the move, which PKR - whose leader Anwar Ibrahim is currently serving a controversial five-year sentence for sodomy - has also criticised.

Mr Lim added in his statement that as "Malaysians who supported PAS in the last General Election did not vote for the implementation of hudud", all 37 DAP MPs will oppose Mr Hadi's private bill on hudud.

He also called on Umno - whose support in Parliament is crucial as it has the largest bloc of Muslim MPs - to make clear whether it supports the enactment of hudud in Kelantan, after the party's assemblymen in the state unanimously supported the PAS government's bill. 

The hudud controversy comes at a time when the PR partners are having to navigate their disparate ideologies without Anwar, who often played mediator between the Chinese-dominated DAP and PAS, and the latter's former spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat, whose death in February leaves the seven-year-old pact without one of the strongest proponents of an alliance to eventually unseat the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) for the first time in Malaysian history.

shannont@sph.com.sg