New partners support hudud

Outreach group Ikram Malaysia Organisation will be among groups that the new opposition alliance will work with.
Outreach group Ikram Malaysia Organisation will be among groups that the new opposition alliance will work with.PHOTO: IKRAM

KUALA LUMPUR • The two Islamic non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that Malaysia's opposition parties Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) are opting as partners in a new alliance are in favour of having Islamic law implemented in the country, analysts say.

Opposition chief Anwar Ibrahim said the Islamic Youth Movement of Malaysia (Abim) and welfare and outreach group Ikram Malaysia Organisation will be among groups that the new opposition alliance will work with.

The DAP and PKR looked for new partners after the previous opposition alliance, which included the country's biggest Islamic party, Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), was abandoned.

Asked about how he views having Islamic law in Malaysia, Mr Nahar Md Noor, secretary-general of Ikram, told The Straits Times: "Any initiative to implement Islamic law has to be supported but it has to go through the due process and the priorities must be set right." Abim, too, is seen by analysts as supporting Islamic law in Malaysia.

Still, as both Abim and Ikram will not be full members of the new opposition alliance - as they are NGOs and not political parties - they could only give their views on any issues.

Analysts say bringing in Abim and Ikram could be seen as odd as the DAP and PAS fought bitterly over the Islamic party's push to implement the Islamic penal code called hudud.

The fight eventually led to the demise of the Pakatan Rakyat alliance that included DAP, PAS and PKR this year.

Said political scientist Chandra Muzaffar: "The division between PAS and DAP was over hudud. Bringing in two NGOs which support hudud is a bit odd. I don't think it's going to work out well.

"Abim supported the implementation of hudud. While they (Abim) may downplay the issue at the moment, I don't think they have changed their position on hudud, from what I know."

Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim said he is "comfortable" with the inclusion of the two NGOs in the opposition coalition "for the moment".

"But I have to caution that they (Abim and Ikram) have to be inclusive. I hope they respect democracy, rule of law and the (secular) Constitution," said Datuk Zaid. "You cannot expect them to abandon their Islamic struggle just like that."

Amy Chew

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 23, 2015, with the headline 'New partners support hudud'. Print Edition | Subscribe