KUCHING: PKR Sarawak has resolved to write to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem to propose the tabling of a joint motion during the coming State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting to declare that hudud will not be implemented in Sarawak.
Its chairman Baru Bian said the letter would be sent to the chief minister by today and hoped that the elected representatives from both sides of the political divide would agree to the motion, considering the alarm the issue has caused among Sarawakians.
He said in the event the chief minister “is not minded” to table the non-partisan motion on behalf of the House, PKR state assembly representatives will cause the motion to be tabled for deliberation and adoption by the state legislative body.
Baru, who is Ba Kelalan assemblyman, said a special meeting of the PKR Sarawak State Leadership Council was called on Tuesday, which was attended by 25 out of 29 leaders including five Muslim leaders, to discuss the attempt by PAS to push for hudud in Kelantan.
“It was unanimously resolved that PKR Sarawak repeats and reiterates our firm stand against the attempt by PAS to amend the Federal Constitution for the implementation of hudud.
“We would like to reassure Sarawakians, that in matters affecting Sarawak and our people, we are ‘Sarawakians First’,” he told a press conference at the state PKR headquarters here yesterday.
Baru said PKR Sarawak recognised that hudud is part and parcel of the Syariah, which is found in the Koran.
However, PKR Sarawak stands firmly against the implementation of hudud in Malaysia and Sarawak for the reason that the Federal Constitution and not the Syariah is the supreme law of the Federation, he affirmed.
In addition, Baru said the Rukunegara, which sets out the fundamental principles of governance directed towards the creation of a just and democratic society, reinforced the supremacy of our Federal Constitution through these tenets: ‘Upholding the Constitution’ and ‘Rule of Law’.
He said during the talks leading to the formation of Malaysia, the non-Muslim communities of Sarawak had voiced their reservations about Islam being the religion of the Federation, adding that the absence of a state religion was key to Sarawak’s agreement to join in the formation of Malaysia in 1963.
“Furthermore, there is enough evidence in our historical documents and legal judgments to establish that Sarawak had signed the Malaysia Agreement with a secular state.
“The founding father, ‘Bapa Malaysia’ Tunku Abdul Rahman stated it plainly in Parliament: ‘I would like to make it clear that this country is not an Islamic state as it is generally understood, we merely provided that Islam shall be the official religion of the state’ [Hansard, May 1, 1958].”
The implementation of hudud requires the amendment of the Federal Constitution, particularly Article 4. In this regard, Baru said Point 16 of the 18/20-Point Agreement should be highlighted, such as the power to amend the Sarawak Constitution or the Federal Constitution insofar as the changes affect the rights of Sarawak belongs exclusively to the people of Sarawak.
“This protection is reinforced in Article 161E of the Federal Constitution, which provides safeguards for the constitutional position of Sabah and Sarawak, whereby no amendment of the Constitution can be made without the concurrence of the Governor if it is to affect the constitution and jurisdiction of the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak and the religion in the state.”
Baru pointed out that these safeguards were promulgated to ensure that Sarawakians’ rights cannot be taken away from them without their consent.
“With such hurdles to clear, it is obvious that the framers of the Sarawak and Federal Constitutions had every intention of preserving Sarawak’s autonomy and our freedom of religion.”
Among those present at the press conference were PKR Sarawak deputy chairman Abang Zulkifli Abang Engkeh, vice-chairmen See Chee How, Ali Biju and Boniface Willy Tumek.