Concrete evidence is convincing, no matter what and how good is the spinning, seeing is believing.
The non-Muslim hairdressers in Kelantan were reported to have been slapped with fines for having customers of the opposite gender, breaching a local council by-law that bars women hairstylists from working on men and vice-versa.
Prior to the incident, it’s also reported that the Kelantan enforcement officers had fined four non-Muslims for indecent behavior fines - khalwat, a crime under syariah law applicable only to Muslims.
In the run-up to the 13th general election, it’s not the fear but being seen as a proof of non-Muslims that attempts were being made to apply Islamic law to non-Muslims, which would ultimately mean the introduction of the Islamic penal code hudud to non-Muslims and create an Islamic state.
The incidents have touched a nerve of non-Muslim and have offered a golden political modal for political opponents to exploit the issues. Although the motives of both incidents remain unclear, it seems to discourage non-Muslim voters from voting for the Pakatan Rakyat. More precisely, the extreme PAS helped MCA made a political score against DAP.
Based on the continuing brewing of the Hudud issue, DAP chairman Karpal Singh calls upon PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang to publicly make the party’s stand on the by-law on gender segregation issue, and not to leave the matter to the Kelantan state executive council.
The silence by the Kelantan exco to review the by-law on gender segregation that forbidding non-Muslim women to cut the hair or non-Muslim men, and vice versa in salons in Kota Baru did not speak well of a responsible government. PAS leaders should realise that silence is not the way out and it only aggravates the position. The by-law should be outlawed without further ado.
Karpal said the justification on enforcement of the gender segregation made by the Kota Baru Municipal Council was publicly announced by the State Local Government, Cultural and Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan on November 24.
To Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan, the ruling was a non-issue and he said the by-law was introduced in 1991 in line with the PAS state government’s slogan ‘Growing with Islam’ that applied to both Muslims and non-Muslim, and in 1999 stricter conditions were imposed by the council.
However, Karpal said the justification certainly evoked fear on the part of non-Muslims that attempts were being made to apply Islamic law to non-Muslims, which would ultimately mean the introduction of hudud to non-Muslims. The vehement public justification by Takiyuddin of the by-law was obviously the cause of the silence on the part of Kelantan state exco to review the by-law.
Karpal said “the last that the DAP would want to do would be not to scuttle efforts by the opposition pact in its quest to capture Putrajaya in the coming election.
“However, that the objective cannot, and must not, mean sacrificing principle at the altar of political expediency. The DAP is committed to opposition to any attempts to extend Islamic law to non-Muslims, whether directly or indirectly,” he added.
Based on the current political landscape, the issue seems cast Pakatan Rakyat further into the midst of the long rooted political crisis, with the major PAS Malay political bloc and DAP non-Malay political bloc which lead by PKR veteran Malay, continuing the political struggle of capturing the UMNO owns Putrajaya. The absence either PAS or DAP shall be a blow to the opposition efforts at wresting the power from ruling party.
Even within the opposition, the danger of facing defections that threaten the trustworthy of the Pakatan Rakyat as occurred in Perak, claiming that they were being sidelined from the political mainstream of the then ruling state government. It could be seen as a lost any political credibility.
Indeed, all the while, PAS’s political standing which caused the vociferous condemnation reflected by DAP Chairman Karpal Singh all this while, is undermining the capability of the Pakatam Rakyat and virtually collapsing the coalition. However, based on the reality of the political scenario and status-quo, nothing substantial may actually change regarding the incident occurred.
Strategically, it is being exploited by the MCA as a sparking a storm over the position of opposition as well as to counter attack toward the baseless claimed of unfair treatment of economic policy, Matriculation Programme and STPM, places entering university, the intake and promotion in civil service, Chinese independent high school education and so on. It is being used by MCA to gain some political mileage and attack the Chinese-based party’s political foe DAP ahead of the 13th general election.
As the incidents continue to play out ahead of the 13th general election, it remains to be seen how and to what extend it will impact the cooperation of the opposition to capture Putrajaya.
The question remains: Would the elemental force of the Islamic state issue done some damage to Pakatan Rakyat and jeopardize their journey to Putrajaya?